Buchanan County

US States / M / Missouri / Buchanan County

Buchanan County is named for James Buchanan, who was a United States senator from Pennsylvania and President of the United States.


Surrounding County Courthouses: 

N – Andrew County

E – DeKalb County and Clinton County

S – Platte County

W – Atchison County, Kansas and Doniphan County, Kansas


Created:  December 31, 1838                Map of Missouri highlighting Buchanan County

County Seat:

Benton ( Sparta )  1839 – 1846

St. Joseph            1846 – present


County Courthouse – St. Joseph


Location:  411 Jules Street / North 4th Street

Built:  1873 – 1876 / 1885

Style:  Renaissance

Architect:  P F Meagher / R K Allen

Contractor:  John DeClue / R K Allen


Description: The building faces south and is a three story red colored brick and stone structure. The building is located on landscaped grounds in the center of St. Joseph. The building forms s Greek cross measuring 235 feet by 205 feet. The south portico projects from the main building with four large columns rising to the top of the second story with a pediment above at the roof line. There are similar porticos on the east and west sides. In the center of the building is 40 foot circumference dome. In the interior,  the corridors on the first story are painted in beige on the lower third and green on the upper two-thirds. There are red colored marble baseboards and the floors have an over all pattern tile of small green colored crosses. The State Seal is centered on the rotunda floor. The stairways of wrought iron and wood in the northwest and northeast corners of the rotunda ascend to the second story. The County Circuit Court courtroom is located on the second story. The main courtroom is located in the south end of the south wing. The walls are painted green and have cream-colored woodwork. The building houses the County Circuit Court of the 5th Judicial Circuit. The building was rebuilt in 1885 after a fire gutted the interior with R K Allen as architect and contractor. There was an extensive restoration in 1979. On the north side is the County Law Enforcement Center.


Note:  The courthouse served as the scene of the trial of the Ford brothers for the murder of Jesse James.


See:  National Register of Historic Places – Buchanan County Courthouse


See:  The 5th Judicial Circuit includes Andrew County and Buchanan County.


History:  The county was created in 1828 and Benton ( Sparta ) was selected as the county seat. The first court met in St. Joseph and then in a private home in Sparta in 1840. The first courthouse was a two-room log structure designed by George W Nixon and William Fowler and was built by Guilford Moultray in Sparta in 1841 to 1842 at a cost of $300. In 1846 the county seat was moved to St. Joseph. The second courthouse was a two story temple-like structure designed and built by Lewis Stigers and William J Taylor in 1846 to 1847 at a cost of $6,280. The third and present courthouse was constructed in 1873 to 1876 at a cost of $175,000. The courthouse was rebuilt in 1885.




County Courthouse – St. Joseph



















County Law Enforcement Center – St. Joseph

Photos taken 2008