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Buena Vista County


Buena Vista County is named for the Battle of Buena Vista in the Mexican-American War.


Surrounding County Courthouses: 

N – Clay County

E – Pocahontas County

S – Sac County

W – Cherokee County


Created:  January 15, 1851                    Map of Iowa highlighting Buena Vista County

County Seat:

Sioux Rapids 1851 – 1878

Storm Lake    1878 – present


County Courthouse – Storm Lake


Location:  215 East 5th Street / Erie Street

Built:  1969 – 1972

Style:  Modern

Architect:  Frevert – Ramsey

Contractor:  Mervin R Petersen Construction


Description: The building faces southwest and is a two story concrete, glass and limestone clad structure. The building is located on landscaped grounds in the center of Storm Lake. The building has a square center section with a north wing and an east wing, forming an “L” shape. The second story protrudes over the first story. The roof line is flat. In the interior, there is an entrance lobby at the junction of the wings. The hallways run north-south and east-west. On the second story are three courtroom A located along the south side of the west wing. The County District Court courtroom is round and measures 30 feet in diameter. The County Magistrate Court courtroom B is located in the center of the south side. The County Juvenile Court courtroom C is located on the west. The building houses the District Court of the 3A Judicial District. 


See:  The 3A Judicial District includes Cherokee CountyClay CountyDickinson County, Emmet CountyKossuth County, Lyon CountyO’Brien CountyOsceola County and Palo Alto County.


History:  The county was created in 1851 and Sioux Rapids was selected as the county seat. Court was held in houses and storerooms through to 1869. The first courthouse was built in Sioux Rapids in 1870 at a cost of $4,945. The courthouse burned in 1877. The county seat was moved to Storm Lake in 1878 and the second courthouse was the two story City Hall in Storm Lake. The third courthouse was designed by J M Russell and constructed in Storm Lake in 1888 at a cost of $25,000. The fourth and present courthouse was constructed in 1969 to 1972 at a cost of $1,200,000.



County Courthouse – Storm Lake


























County District Court courtroom A















County Magistrate Court courtroom B







County Juvenile Court courtroom C







Photos taken 2008, 2023 and 2024