Clayton County

US States / H-L / Iowa / Clayton County

Clayton County is named for John M. Clayton, who was a United States Senator from Delaware and later Secretary of State under President Zachray Taylor.


Surrounding County Courthouses: 

N – Allamakee County

E – Crawford County, Wisconsin and Grant County, Wisconsin

S – Dubuque County and Delaware County

W – Fayette County


Created:  December 21, 1837                Map of Iowa highlighting Clayton County

County Seat:

Prairie Le Port ( Guttenberg )  1840 – 1843

Jacksonville ( Garnavillo )        1843 – 1867

Elkader                                     1867 – present


County Courthouse – Elkader


Location:  111 High Street NE / Bridge Street

Built:  1867 – 1868 / 1877 – 1878

Style:  Italianate

Architect:  O F Davis

Contractor:  Louis Ruther, R E Price, F D Bayless, H C Grotewohl, F H Carter, D R Mills, Samuel Murdock, S T Woodward, R Richardson, Oliver Wade, Isaac Haves, Charles Schoch, Anton Kramer, R L Freeman, P C Young, Wolfgang Schmidt, August Borman, P H Mullen, C F Sterns, James Partch, George Meyer, Jacob Stemmer, John Becker, O F Davis, A B Moreland, E W Stewart, John Partch, Adolph Papin, F Wheeland, Thomas Commungs, W A Preston, J M Snedigar and B S Whitney.


Description: The building faces southeast and is a two story red colored brick, wood and limestone structure. The building is located on landscaped grounds in the center of Elkader. The building has a square white colored wood clock tower on the center of the roof. The main entrance is on the east side. The eaves of the building extend outwards. In 1867 a red colored brick building was constructed for the clerk and treasurer. The current courthouse built in 1877 to 1878 was added onto the east side of the old structure. In the interior a central hall extends the east-west length of the first and second stories. Double stairs ascend to the second story where the County District Court courtroom is located along the northeast side. On the southeast side of the second story is the County Magistrate Court courtroom. The building houses the County District Court of the 1A Judicial District. The clock tower was added in 1896. The contractor was William F Fuelling of Farmersberg. To the east is the old County jail which has been converted into a hotel.


See:  National Register of Historic Places – Clayton County Courthouse


Old County Courthouse – Guttenberg




Location:  510 North 1st Street / Mozart Street

Built:  1840

Style:  Classical

Architect:  David Hastings

Contractor:  David Hastings


Description: The building faces east and is a two story white colored siding, wood and stone structure. The original building was stone. An enclosed porch is on the east side. The roof is hipped. The building was originally located on the Public Square at Main Street and 1st Street and served as courthouse until 1843.


See:  The 1A Judicial District includes Allamakee County, Delaware County, Dubuque County and Winneshiek County.


History:  The county was created in 1837 and Prairie Le Port ( Guttenberg ) was selected as the county seat in 1840 The first courthouse was built by David Hating in Guttenberg in 1840 and was used until 1843. The building is still standing. In 1843 the county seat was moved to Jacksonville ( Garnavillo ) and the second courthouse was built in 1844. The county seat was moved to Elkader in 1867. The third and present courthouse was constructed in 1867 to 1868. The courthouse was enlarged in 1877 to 1878 at a cost of $10,000.




County Courthouse - Elkader 



















County District Court courtroom

























County Magistrate Court courtroom






















Old County Courthouse – Gutteberg










Photos taken 2008 and 2023