O’Brien County

US States / H-L / Iowa / O’Brien County

O’Brien County is named for William Smith O’Brien, who was an Irish patriot.


Surrounding County Courthouses: 

N – Osceola County

E – Clay County

S – Cherokee County

W – Sioux County 


Created:  January 15, 1851                    Map of Iowa highlighting O'Brien County

County Seat:

Old O’Brien  1851 – 1873

Primghar      1873 – present


County Courthouse – Primghar


Location:  155 South Hayes Avenue / 2nd Street

Built:  1915 – 1916

Style:  Neo-Classical

Architect:  Smith and Keffer

Contractor:  J E Lovejoy


Description: The building faces east and is a three story cream colored stone and concrete structure. The east front has six large columns rising from the second story to the top of the third story. A projecting cornice runs below the roof line. The roof line is flat. The building houses the County District Court of the 3A Judicial District.


See:  The 3A Judicial District includes Buena Vista CountyCherokee CountyClay CountyDickinson County, Emmet CountyKossuth County, Lyon CountyOsceola County and Palo Alto County.


History:  The county was created in 1851 and Old O’Brien was selected as the county seat. The first courthouse was built at Waterman in 1860 at a cost of $2,000. The county seat was moved to Primghar in 1873 and the second courthouse was built in 1874. At a cost of $2,000. The third courthouse was built by Green Brothers in 1887 at a cost of $6,000. An addition was constructed in 1902 by English & Metcalf. The cost of construction of the present courthouse was $159,000.




County Courthouse - Primghar 
















Photos taken 2007