Courthouse History

Third Courthouse

Built on the site of Fort Fairmount, the Martin County Courthouse sits atop a hill overlooking the City of Fairmont and Lake Sisseton. It was designed by Charles E. Bell and built by J.B. Nelson. Construction commenced on April 9, 1906 and the building was dedicated on December 16, 1907. In total, the cost to erect the building was a little less than $125,000.

The building measures 79 feet by 116 feet with a height of 50 feet to the top of the roof. Its most prominent feature, a high copper dome with a large clock on each of its four sides, extends an additional 58 feet above the roof for a total of 108 feet from the ground to the top of the dome.  

The three floors that make up the exterior of the courthouse are constructed primarily of stone. The first floor is made of rusticated Marquette raindrop sandstone in a reddish hue from Michigan. The second and third floors as well as the lower half of the dome are built of smooth, buff-colored Bedford limestone from Indiana. The foundation is made of approximately five feet of concrete.

Inside, visitors can find original metal and stonework as well as murals painted on the third floor and in the dome by Franz E. Rohrbeck of Milwaukee

The courthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 22nd, 1977.

Elevator Addition

Elevator Construction

In 1996, construction began that would add an elevator to allow additional access to all three floors of the courthouse building. 

The project was done by the Joseph Company out of Austin, MN for $815,000. The total construction included the elevator as
well as additional building space on all three floors to house it. Construction was completed in 1997.

Dome and Roof Repair

Dome RepairAfter over 100 years of service, the interior of the dome began to break down due to age and exposure to the elements. The steel supports were rusting and the wood was rotting away.

In 2020, the Renaissance Roofing company began the monumental task of repairing the dome before it deteriorated any further. 

The entire dome was encased in scaffolding and a tarp was placed around the scaffolding to protect the interior from the elements and allow the construction crew to continue to work during the winter months.

Once the dome was completed, work began on replacing the roof, which was also having issues with leaking.

The repair work to the dome and roof was completed in December 2022.
Placing the Courthouse cornerstone
Courthouse & Sheriff Residence
Courthouse in Winter
Fourth of July - Courthouse
View of Courthouse from the Lake
Courthouse in Fall
Foundation for Elevator Construction
Elevator construction housing
Elevator construction completion
Dome repair scaffolding
Dome repair tarp
Eagle From Dome
Rusted parts of the dome
Rusted dome parts
Repaired dome parts