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.


Created:  March 18, 1858

County Seat:

Fergus Falls  1858 – 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 the city. 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.


Note:  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 of the present courthouse was $322,000.



N – Clay County and Becker County

E – Wadena County and Todd County

S – Douglas County and Grant County

W – Wilkin County and Clay County





County Courthouse






























Photos taken 2007, 2008, 2017 and 2019