Box Elder County Courthouse

Curated by: The Brigham City Heritage Tours Team

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The County Courthouse was begun in 1855 or 1856, the first public building in Brigham City. As soon as the basement walls were built and windows and doors installed, a temporary roof was added so it could be used for meetings and theatrical productions.

By 1857, two stories of adobe brick were built, but before the walls were finished, a strong wind blew some of them down. These walls were then rebuilt, and the building was completed before the end of 1857. Lorenzo Snow asked builder James Pett to install a roof that would stay. He accomplished this without nails, using wooden pegs and horse hide.

As the only public building, it was used for drama, religious services, recreation, and school as well as for city and county meetings and business.

Simeon D. Carter Jr. attended school there and told his family about it. His daughter wrote: “Father often told us of the furnishing of the school room in the court house where he went to school and Sunday School. It consisted of long slab seats without backs, and the legs made of rough boards stuck through the holes bored in the slab. One long slab was hinged to the wall for the desk, where the boys and girls went to practice penmanship. They laboriusly followed a copy, set by the teacher, at the top of long sheets of ‘foolscap’ paper. Chidlren from the ABC class to the grown girls and boys were all in the same classroom.”

In the early 1870s a large bell in the Courthouse tower signaled work time, lunch time, and quitting time for the Brigham Cooperative enterprises. It was also a fire bell.

In 1883 Peter F. Madsen, Probate Judge of Box Elder County, had the Courthouse renovated and had trees and shrubs planted.

A major remodeling in 1910 completely changed the courthouse’s appearance. A large section extended the front of the building, and stone columns and a new tower were added. The original building became the rear wing.

District Court and judicial chambers were housed in the courthouse until the summer of 1994 when they moved to a new building. All county government departments remain in the courthouse at present.

The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

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