Carroll County, MO
Organized January 2, 1833, from Ray County and named for Charles Carroll of Carrollton. At the organization of the county the intention was to call it “Wakenda”, after the river running through it. The bill forming the new county had passed its first and second reading by that name, but when it came up for its third reading and final action, the news of the death of Charles Carroll, of Carrollton, the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence, had just been received in Jefferson City. Instead of Wakenda, Carroll County passed without a dissenting vote, and was signed on the 3rd day of January, 1833. The county was divided into townships in 1816, and sectionalized in 1817.
Carroll County planners reserved the highest point within the 80-acre grant to the county for the courthouse. The first courthouse was built in 1834 according to specifications in the County Court Record filed in 1834. The building was 18 by 20 feet, of hewn logs, 1-1/2 stories with either brick or stone chimney, and underpinned with rock and mortar. William Glaze, contractor, completed the building in November 1835, at a cost of $273.50. The building and lot sold for $450 in May 1841. The second courthouse, a 40-foot-square, two-story, brick building, occupied the center of the square. Window frames, sash and staircase were to be of walnut. The floor on the east side of the first floor, for the judge’s bench, was elevated and laid with brick, the remainder of the floor laid with oak plank. Woodwork was painted white, the doors mahogany. Specifications called for four interior wood columns to be painted marble. The clerk recorded a description of the building in the County Court Record. In 1867, $2,500 was appropriated for a new courthouse and Henry Sloan appointed commissioner. The contract for the two-story, brick building was given to Jacobs, Farris and Co. for $12,350. They completed construction in December 1867. Funds came from the general fund and a bond issue. An illustration of the proposed building indicated a larger, more elaborate building than the one built. This building, razed in 1901, was bought for $900.
Participants in a mass meeting held early in 1901 came to three conclusions: Carroll County needed a new courthouse that should not cost over $60,000; it should be financed by direct tax; and it should be built in the center of the square. An illustration of an accepted design proposed by Jerome Legg accompanied news items related to the May 1901 election. Other Missouri courthouses built by Legg about this time include Shelby, Gasconade, St. Charles and Mississippi. However, all bids exceeded the $60,000 limit, and Legg was dismissed.
The court then solicited new plans and accepted the proposed design of Robert G. Kirsch. In December 1901 the court accepted a bid from John Scott and Sons, Lancaster, for $45,900. Cornerstone ceremonies took place in June 1902, and the building that continues to serve as the Carroll County courthouse was completed in June 1904. Kirsch did similar buildings in Adair, 1897, and Polk and Vernon Counties, 1906.