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Bates County

Bates County is named for Frederick Bates, who was the second governor of Missouri.


Surrounding County Courthouses: 

N – Cass County

E – Henry County and St. Clair County 

S – Vernon County

W – Linn County, Kansas and Miami County, Kansas

Created:  January 29, 1841                    Map of Missouri highlighting Bates County

County Seat:

Harmony Mission  1841 – 1847

Papinville               1847 – 1856

Butler                     1856 – 1864

Pleasant Gap         1864 – 1865

Butler                     1865 – present


County Courthouse – Butler


Location:  1 North Delaware Street / West Ohio Street

Built:  1901 – 1902

Style:  Richardsonian Romanesque

Architect:  George E McDonald of Omaha, Nebraska

Contractor:  Bartlett and Kling of Galesburg, Illinois.


Description:  The building faces south and is a three story course gray colored Carthage stone and concrete structure. The building is located on landscaped grounds of the Courthouse Square in the center of Butler and is 84 feet by 104 feet. The building has a raised basement as the first story. The south front has a projecting center section with arched entrance on the first story and rising to a peak. Above the entrance is a large arched window on the second story. On the center of the roof is a large square stone clock tower with the statue of Justice at the top of the dome. The interior form translates into the cruciform system of hallways. The floor tiles are yellow ocher, burnt umber, terra ctta and tan. There is varnished oak woodwork and an elaborate stairway. The County Circuit Court courtroom is located on the west side of the third story. The buiding houses the County Circuit Court of the 27th Judicial Circuit.


See:  The architect, George E McDonald of Omaha, Nebraska designed courthouses in Kansas in Elk Countyin Missouri in Andrew CountyJohnson County and Lawrence County; in Nebraska in Fillmore County and Nuckolls County and in Wyoming in  Niobrara County.


See:  National Register of Historic Places – Bates County Courthouse


See:  The 27th Judicial Circuit includes Bates County, Henry County and St. Clair County.


History:  The county was created in 1841 and Harmony Mission was selected as the county seat. The first court met in a private home, subsequent courts met in the Mission House. In 1847, the county seat was moved to Papinville. The first courthouse was a brick structure designed and built by Fritzpatrck and Hurt in 1853 to 1855 at a cost of $4,200 with Abraham Redfield as the superintendent. In 1856, the county seat was moved to Butler. The second courthouse was a brick structure designed and built by Fritzpatrck and Hurt in 1856 at a cost of $5,000. The courthouse burned in 1861. During the Civil War court was held in different locations. In 1865, the county seat was moved to Pleasant Gap. The county seat returned to Butler 1866 and the third courthouse was a square brick structure designed by P B Leach and constructed by J B Linkenpaugh for in 1869 at a cost of $23,000. The courthouse was condemned in 1899 and the county rented premises. The fourth and present courthouse was constructed in 1901 to 1902 at a cost of $50,000.



County Courthouse – Butler


























County Circuit Court courtroom

















Photos taken 2009 and 2023