Knox County is named for Henry Knox, who was the first United States Secretary of War.
Surrounding County Courthouses:
E – Cedar County
Created: February 10, 1857
Niobrara 1857 – 1902
Center 1902 – present
County Courthouse – Center
Location: NW – Main Street / Brazile Street
Style: Art Deco and Federal
Architect: E B Watson of Norfolk
Contractor: Construction supervisor and prison labor
Description: The building faces east and is a two story dark brown-red colored brick and concrete structure. The rectangular shaped building is located on landscaped grounds in the center of Center. The east front has a central entrance with glassed porch on the first story. On the second story is a large window. The base of the building is concrete. The roof line is flat. The interior has a T-shape floorplan, with steps up from the entry vestibule occupying the stub of the “T”. The courtroom is located on the west side of the second story and the furnishings are excellent golden oak Art Deco woodwork with grooved vertical detail. Spectator seating, the bar, jury box, judge’s bench, attorneys table, even the court stenographer’s desk, all match. Especially notable is the judge’s bench. Behind it is a gabled and stepped wood screen with long vertical grooves and carved rosettes. Courses consisting of a small vertical pattern adorn the desk, a motif repeated on other judicial furnishings in the room. The building houses the County District Court and County Court of the 7th Judicial District. In 2013 to 2014 a Courthouse Annex was constructed. The architect was Mannes Architects of Yankton, South Dakota and the contractor was RaDec Construction Company Inc. of Hartington.
Note: County prisoners made 130,000 “cement bricks” to which the face brick was applied. The county provided a construction supervisor, and it does not appear that a general contractor was used. E P Ekman of Wausa made the widows and Oliver Prosser was the mason in charge of laying the bricks.
See: The architect, E B Watson of Norfolk also designed the courthouse in Rock County.
See: National Register of Historic Places – Knox County Courthouse
History: The county was created in 1857 as L’Eau Qui Court County and Niobrara was selected as the county. In 1873, the name was changed to Knox County. The first courthouse was a rented building that was moved after a flood in 1881. The second courthouse was a two story brick structure designed by George G Bayha and built by Bayha Brothers in 1884. The courthouse was torn down in 1976. The county seat wad moved to Center in 1902 and the third courthouse was a two story frame structure in 1902. The fourth and present courthouse was constructed in 1934 at a cost of $62,186.
County Courthouse – Center
Courthouse with addition
Photos taken 2009 and 2016