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Polk County


Polk County is named for James Knox Polk, who was the eleventh President of the United States of America.


Surrounding County Courthouses: 

N – Boone County and Story County

E – Jasper County

S – Warren County

W – Dallas County


Created:  January 13, 1846                    Map of Iowa highlighting Polk County

County Seat:

Des   Moines  1846 – present


County Courthouse – Des Moines


Location:  500 Southwest 7th Street / Court Street

Built:  1902 – 1906

Style:  Federalist

Architect:  Proudfoot & Bird of Des Moines

Contractor:  Columbian Fireproofing Company


Description: The building faces east and is a four story grey colored stone and concrete structure. The rectangular shaped building is located on landscaped grounds in the center of Des Moines. The building is constructed with Grey Canyon Sandstone. The center section forms a projecting portico with three arches on the first story and eight Corinthian columns rising from the third story to the top of the fourth story. There is a large square tower on each corner. On the center of the building is a high square clock tower rising in three stages with cupola on the top. In the interior are marble columns, large rotunda and stained glass ceiling at the dome of the rotunda. A spiral staircase ascends to the third story. On the south and north sides of the rotunda are rectangular galleries with stained glass ceilings and murals by Charles A Cummings and Edward Simmons. On the east side of the third story is the rectangular shaped Conference Room which has columns and a stained glass ceiling. There are six historic courtrooms some having ornamental acorns and embellished scrolls across the vaulted ceiling, decorative gold rotunda and 7-foot chandeliers. Four of the historic courtrooms on the third story have double height ceilings. The two other historic courtrooms are located in the center of the second story. The ten other courtrooms are located on the first and second stories. The building houses the County District Court, County Family Court and County Probate Court of the 5th Judicial District. Cleveland Ohio Stone Company had the contract to supply the Grey Canyon Sandstone. The building was renovated in 2015 to 2022. The architect was OPN Architects of Cedar Falls and the contractor was Neumann Brothers, Inc. On the west side is the County Criminal Court and on the north side is the County Justice Center. The County Administration Building is located to the east.


See:  The architect, Proudfoot and Bird also designed courthouses in Dallas CountyGreene County, Jasper County and Pocahontas County.


See:  National Register of Historic Places – Polk County Courthouse


History:  The county was created in 1846 and Des Moines was selected as the county seat. The first courthouse was built in 1847 at a cost of $2,015. The second courthouse was designed by Dyer H Young and built by Isaac Cooper in 1858 at a cost of $103,000. The third and present courthouse was constructed in 1902 to 1906 at a cost of $750,000. The County Justice Center was constructed at a cost of $15,500,000 and the County Criminal Courts Building was constructed at a cost of $35,000,000.


County Administration Building – Des Moines



Location:  111 Court Street / 2nd Street

Built:  1906 – 1908

Style: Neo-Classical

Architect:  James Knox Taylor

Contractor:  Unknown


Description: The building is a three story gray colored stone and concrete structure. The building served as the United States Post Office until it was remodeled in 1974 as the County Administration Building when a modern section was added on the south side.


See:  Located in the county is the Iowa Supreme Court and Iowa Court of Appeals


Other Court Buildings


Polk County – Criminal Court


Polk County – Justice Center



County Courthouse – Des Moines































Mural – The Indian In His Natural State



Mural – The Coming Of The White Man











County District Court original courtroom





















Conference Room











County District Court courtroom









County District Court courtroom









County District Court small courtroom











County Administration Building – Des Moines



Photos taken 2008