Archive for Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Jail project digs up courthouse history

September 6, 2006

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— Construction crews digging near the Cowley County Courthouse in southern Kansas have unearthed evidence of two former courthouses.

The earliest judicial building was constructed in 1873. The second courthouse was built in 1909.

Remnants of the buildings were uncovered as work began on a new detention center, which is set for completion in September 2008.

Historical records show the first building measured 40 feet by 50 feet and that a small jail was built to the north of it. The courthouse, which had round-topped windows and doors, cost about $11,500.

The Winfield Daily Courier described the project in detail and concluded: "On the whole, one of the best, prettiest, and most substantial buildings, of the kind - and certainly the best for the money - in the state."

The second building was situated to the north of the structure. Pictures from the period show it stood alone in the square and featured a unique clock tower and a large set of stairs in front.

The current courthouse and jail were built in 1963.

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