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Dickinson County

Dickinson County is named for Daniel Stevens Dickinson, who was a United States senator for New York.


Surrounding County Courthouses: 

N – Jackson County, Minnesota

E – Emmet County

S – Clay County

W – Osceola County


Created:  January 15, 1851                    Map of Iowa highlighting Dickinson County

County Seat:

Spirit Lake  1857 – present


County Courthouse – Spirit Lake


Location:  1802 Hill Avenue / 18th Street

Built:  2005 – 2008

Style:  Modern

Architect:  RDG Planning and Design of Des Moines

Contractor:  McHan Construction Company of Sioux City


Description: The building faces northeast and is a two story red colored brick, glass and concrete structure. The building is located on spacious landscaped grounds in the center of Spirit Lake. The northeast front is a crescent shape with glass walls and vertical dividers. The roof is hipped. At the front is a three story square red colored brick tower. In the interior there is a long curved lobby on the first and second stories along the northeast front. Open stairs ascend to the second story. A wide corridor extends west with the three County District Court courtrooms along the north side of the second story. The County District Court courtrooms are located on the second story. The building houses the County District Court of the 3A Judicial District. 


See:  The 3A Judicial District includes Buena Vista CountyCherokee CountyClay CountyEmmet CountyKossuth County, Lyon CountyO’Brien CountyOsceola County and Palo Alto County.


History:  The county was created in 1851 and Spirit Lake was selected as the county seat in 1857. In 1858 construction started on the first courthouse but a dispute arose and in 1859 the county occupied a building at a fort one-half mile north as the first courthouse. In 1862, the military abandoned the fort. As the courthouse was in poor condition, the second courthouse, a two story structure was built in 1862 during the Civil War. The building burned on November 24, 1871. The second courthouse was rebuilt in 1872 using the bricks from the burned courthouse. The building was condemned in 1880 and the county used other premises. The third courthouse was a Romanesque structure designed by T D Allen and built by H J Francis and Lenard and Wallace in 1891 at a cost of $15,000. An addition was designed by James H Walsh and constructed by Fagre Construction Company in 1957. The building was razed for the fourth and present courthouse constructed in 2005 to 2008 at a cost of $14,900,000.



County Courthouse – Spirit Lake















County District Court large courtroom









County District Court courtroom









County District Court small courtroom







Courthouse History







Picture Second County Courthouse



Picture Third County Courthouse

Photos taken 2008, 2010 and 2023