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A History of the Wyandotte County Courthouse

The Wyandotte County Courthouse is an historic spot in Kansas at 7th & Ann, built in 1927. It was called "The Million Dollar Courthouse".

On January 29, 1859, the county of Wyandotte was created by the Territorial Legislature. The first courthouse was not even a building. The county rented rooms at 3rd & Nebraska for county offices. The county attorney used a room in the post office.

On June 6, 1859, a courtroom was on the 2nd floor of the Lipman Meyer Building which, a month later, became the historic spot where the Constitution of Kansas was made.

In 1860, a lot and building was purchased. The building was moved to the front of the lot on Nebraska. The post office used the building, too. So, the actual courthouse was also the first post office, as well. A log jail was added at a cost of $200.00 on the back of the lot.

In 1867, the town felt the old courthouse was inadequate and rented space for its offices and by 1870, the old jail was condemned. The front building, (first courthouse) was sold and made into a residence. The building was damaged by a storm in 1891 and was restored and moved to an adjoining lot. It now bears the address of 328 Nebraska and because the street was graded, it stands high above the street.

On May 9, 1882, eight (8) lots were purchased for a new courthouse. The lot faced 7th Street on the east and reached from State Avenue to Minnesota Avenue. This building was completed in 1883 and for 44years was the seat of government in Wyandotte County.

As the population grew, new courts were added and still more space was needed and had to be rented. The courthouse by 1920, was judged to be inadequate and insufficient and was not worth remodeling or replacing.

Public opinion grew hot as to where the new courthouse should be built, but finally the Commissioner's selected the east 325 feet of the block fronting on 7th Street from Ann to Barnett Avenues, consisting of 30 lots, as the site for the new "Million Dollar Courthouse", where we are today.

The cornerstone was laid July 12, 1927 with a big ceremony. In a box placed in the cornerstone were the following articles:
  • 1 small American flag,
  • 1 Kansas flag,
  • Holy Bible,
  • The 1926 proceedings of the Grand Lodge,
  • Coins, 1 cent to $1.00,
  • A list of state officers,
  • A list of county officers,
  • A list of the officers of the Grand Lodge,
  • A notation of the number of miles of paved roads in Wyandotte County,
  • The population of the county in 1926, 133,897 residents,
  • The number of automobiles licenses in the county in 1926, 25,629 plates,
  • A copy of the oration of Judge U.S. Guyer,
  • A picture of the first courthouse, present courthouse and the new $1,000,000.00 building,
  • A copy of the Kansan, Armourdale Press, the Kansas City Star,
  • A statement of contractor,
  • A statement of county commissioner's, a date of issue bond,
  • An account of work being done on the courthouse,
  • A sack of wheat grown on a Wyandotte County farm, forming a part of $150,000,000.00 wheat crop,
  • A statement from the Chamber of Commerce on the number of industries in the county.
This courthouse fronts 320 feet on 7th Street with a depth of 155 feet. It is six (6) stories high. It is built of "bedford stone", with a super structure of steel and concrete. There is not a supporting wall in the entire building, so that any floor can be completely remodeled, should a need arise. Six (6) Doric columns, 48 feet high are ornament features of the building front.

Today, even the "Million Dollar Courthouse" is not big enough, so behind the courthouse, construction is under way to add the needed space for a new jail, district attorney's offices, parking and more, which now, in 1999 is called the "Criminal Justice Complex. It is connected to the "Million Dollar Courthouse" by a long hallway. Security gates are now in use.
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