Otter Tail County

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Otter Tail

Otter Tail County is named after Otter Tail Lake and Otter Tail River. The lake received its name from the Ojibway words for a long and narrow sand bar that was shaped like an otter’s tail.


Surrounding County Courthouses: 

N – Clay County and Becker County

E – Wadena County and Todd County

S – Douglas County and Grant County

W – Wilkin County and Clay County


Created:  March 18, 1858                       Map of Minnesota highlighting Otter Tail County

County Seat:

Otter Tail City  1868 – 1872

Fergus Falls    1872 – present


County Courthouse – Fergus Falls


Location:  121 West Junius Avenue / South Mill Street

Built:  1921 – 1922

Style:  Classical Revival

Architect:  Buechener and Orth of Saint Paul

Contractor:  L P Jorgenson


Description:  The building faces north and is a three story buff colored brick and concrete structure. The building is located on spacious landscaped grounds in the center of Fergus Falls. The foundation of the building is Bedford stone. The building is anchored by an entrance under a segmentally curved pediment. The two-story Ionic columns and flat pilasters rise to a cornice and parapet from the second story to the third story. The courtroom is located on the second story. In 1962, an office annex was added on the east side. In 1972, the driveway between the buildings was eliminated and the two buildings were joined with an addition. The architect was Glenn W Cording & Associates. In 1973 an addition was constructed in the south side.


County Justice Center – Fergus Falls




Location:  121 West Junius Avenue / South Mill Street

Built:  Unknown

Style:  Modern

Architect:  Klein McCarthy Group

Contractor:  Unknown


Description:  The building faces north and is a five story buff colored brick and concrete structure. The building is located on landscaped grounds in the center of Fergus Falls on the east side of the courthouse. The lower section is dark red colored stone. The top story has large windows and the roof line is flat. Named as the Justice Center the building contains courtrooms on the upper story. 


History:  The county was created in 1858 and Otter Tail City was designated as the county seat in 1868. The county seat was moved to Fergus Falls in 1872. The first courthouse was designed by E P Bassford and built by Stanford Brothers in 1880 and was destroyed by windstorms. The cost of construction in 1921 to 1922 of the second and present courthouse was $322,000.




County Courthouse – Fergus Falls

















































County Courthouse Annex – Fergus Falls




County Courthouse Addition – Fergus Falls







Photos taken 2007, 2008, 2017 and 2019