Pottawattamie County

US States / H-L / Iowa / Pottawattamie County

Pottawattamie County is named for the Pottawattamie Native American people who resided in the area.


Surrounding County Courthouses: 

N – Harrison County and Shelby County 

E – Cass County

S – Montgomery County and Mills County

W – Sarpy County, Nebraska,  Douglas County, Nebraska and Washington County, Nebraska


Created:  February 21, 1848                  Map of Iowa highlighting Pottawattamie County

County Seat:

Council   Bluffs  1848 – present


County Courthouse – Council Bluffs


Location:  227 South 6th Street / 5th Avenue

Built:  1977 – 1978

Style:  Modern

Architect:  Hollis and Miller

Contractor:  A Borchman Sons Company


Description: The building faces east and is a five story buff colored brick, concrete and glass structure. The building is located on landscaped grounds in the center of Council Bluffs. The building has a recessed entrance on the east side. Vertical brick dividers ascend to the fifth story which is solid brick. White colored concrete siding is below the brickwork. An east wing of two stories extends eastwards. The roof line is flat. In the interior is a two story central atrium with a state of Lady Justice on the second story. The fourth story has four courtrooms and the fifth story has four courtrooms. An east wing of two stories extends eastwards. The building houses the County District Court of the 4th Judicial District. In 2022 to 2023, an extension is under construction on the northeast side which will have a three story projecting center section with three high rectangular openings and a two story curved section on the northeast. The architect was HGM Architects of Council Bluffs and the contractor was Meco-Henne Contracting Inc. of Omaha, Nebraska. On the north side is a two story Courthouse Annex which was originally a church and the old County Jail and Sheriff Residence built in 1884 to 1885.


See:  The 4th Judicial District includes Audubon County, Cass CountyFremont CountyHarrison County, Mills CountyMontgomery CountyPage County and Shelby County


History:  The county was created in 1848 and Council Bluffs was selected as the county seat. The first courthouse was built in 1848 and was abandoned for rented premises. The second courthouse was built in 1868 at a cost of $42,000. The third courthouse was designed by Eckel & Mann of St. Joseph, Missouri and constructed by Wickham Brothers of Council Bluffs in 1885 to 1888 at a cost of $141,800. In 1885, the cost of the jail and sheriff residence was $30,000. The fourth and present courthouse was constructed in 1977 to 1978. The building was extended in 2022 to 2023.


Old County Jail and Sheriff Residence – Council Bluffs




Location:  226 Pearl Avenue / 5th Avenue

Built:  1884 – 1885

Style:  Romanesque

Architect:  Eckel and Mann of St. Joseph, Missouri

Contractor:  Wickham Brothers of Council Bluffs


Description: The building faces east and is a three story red colored brick structure. The building is located on landscaped grounds in the center of Council Bluffs. The building was designed for maximum security with minimal contact between the prisoners and the jailers. The front part of the jail had offices for the jailer, a kitchen, trustee cells, and quarters for women. The rest of the building is made up of pie-shaped cells that revolved inside of a cage, known as “squirrel cage”. These dangerous cells also rotated inside a cylindrical cage with only one opening, which resulted in the loss of many prisoners’ limbs. The jail closed in 1969 and in 1977, the building became a museum. William H. Brown and Benjamin F Haugh of Indianapolis, Indiana were the supervising architects. Ketcham Iron Works, Indianapolis, Indiana supplied the jail equipment.




County Courthouse – Council Bluffs














Statue of Lady Justice







County District Court courtroom
















County District Court courtroom



















New Addition under construction 2022 and 2023













County Courthouse Annex – Coulcil Bluffs







Old County Jail and Sheriff Residence – Council Bluffs










Photos taken 2008, 2022 and 2023