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Traverse County

Traverse County is named after Lake Traverse which is a translation of the Dakota name “Mdehdakinyan” meaning the “lake lying crosswise”.


Surrounding County Courthouses: 

N – Wilkin County

E – Grant County and Stevens County

S – Big Stone County

W – Roberts County, South Dakota and Richland County, North Dakota


Created:  February 20, 1862                  Map of Minnesota highlighting Traverse County

County Seat:

Browns Valley   1862 – 1881

Maudada          1882 – 1884

Browns Valley   1884 – 1889

Wheaton           1889 – present


County Courthouse – Wheaton


Location:  702 2nd Avenue North / 7th Street North

Built:  1891 – 1892

Style:  Romanesque

Architect:  Harry W Jones of Minneapolis

Contractor:  Alfred A Sutterlund of Wheaton


Description:  The building faces south and is a two story red colored brick and concrete structure. The building is located on landscaped grounds in the center of Wheaton. The building is constructed of red colored brick. On the east and west sides are round-arched windows. A steel portico is over the south entrance and the roof is hipped. In the interior, the County District Court courtroom is located at the center of the second story. The building houses the County District Court of the 8th Judicial District. The architect was Harry W Jones of Minneapolis and the contractor was Alfred A Sutterlund of Wheaton. An addition was built onto the south side in 1919 and the tower was removed. The architect was Helmer Hanson and the contractor was Carlson and Hasslen. In 1938, a vault was built. The architect and contractor was P C Bettenburg of Architect and Engineers Inc. Further renovations were made in 1973 and in 1974, the size of the building was doubled. The architect was Glenn Cording Associates Inc. and the contractor was Bruch and Morrow Inc. On the west side is the attached one story County Courthouse Annex and on the north side is a one story brick addition.


See:  The 8th Judicial District includes Big Stone CountyChippewa CountyGrant County, Kandiyohi CountyLac Qui Parle CountyMeeker County, Pope CountyRenville County, Stevens CountySwift County, Wilkin County and Yellow Medicine County.


History:  The county was created in 1862 and Browns Valley was selected as the county seat. The first courthouse was the Davis store in Browns Valley in 1881. The county seat was moved to Maudada from 1882 to 1884 and the county seat returned to Browns Valley. In 1889, the county seat was moved to Wheaton. The second courthouse was rented rooms in a former lumber company. The third and present courthouse was constructed in 1891 to 1892 at a cost of $12,000. The cost of the 1919 addition was $10,038.



County Courthouse – Wheaton
















County District Court courtroom











County Courthouse Annex – Wheaton



Photos taken 2007, 2008, 2017 and 2024