This year marks the 100th year of the Crow Wing County Historic Courthouse in downtown Brainerd.
The historic courthouse is located at 326 Laurel St. next to the Brainerd Post Office. Construction was completed for approximately $280,000. Multiple bids for construction were received and contracts were awarded on a Saturday afternoon in July 1919.
A team of horses was used to help crews dig the foundation for the building along with slip scrapers, which was a common tool for the time. By July 1920, the walls on the second floor were going up. Building stones arrived steadily and Masons worked to set each exterior stone in place.
By August 1920, the slab for the third floor was poured composed of concrete joist reinforced with steel rods. It took three days to pour. A team of two horses was led up the grand staircase to the second floor to help raise the stained-glass dome with a rope and pulley system. The dome is the centerpiece of the building and can be viewed from both the second and third floors.
Once the walls and roof were in place, there were still months of work to install the interior finishes. The heating and ventilation system was modern for the time, consisting of a coal room able to hold four cars of coal, an ash room with a hoist for carrying up the ashcans, two Kewanee boilers and a condensation pump. Pipes ran underground to carry steam to the county jail for heating, which is now the Crow Wing County Historical Museum and Library. The original letters CWC remain on all door plates and a black enamel crow is seen on all door knobs throughout the building. The original marble floors, base and wainscoting throughout the inside of the courthouse retain its character to this day.
Court hearings are no longer heard in the grand courtroom on the third floor, however the Crow Wing County board meetings and other meetings take place there on a regular basis.
Check out a video tour of the Historic Courthouse along with more history: