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Sanders County

Sanders County is named for Wilbur Fiske Sanders, who was a pioneer and a United States Senator from Montana.


Surrounding County Courthouses: 

N – Lincoln County and Flathead County

E – Lake County

S – Missoula County and Mineral County

W – Shoshone County, Idaho and Bonner County, Idaho 


Created:  February 7, 1905                    Map of Montana highlighting Sanders County

County Seat: 

Thompson Falls  1906 – present


County Courthouse – Thompson Falls 


Location:  1111 Main Street / Jefferson Street

Built:  1949 – 1950

Style:  Art Deco

Architect:  Corwin & Company

Contractor:  Frederick A Long


Description:  The building faces north and is a three story light cream colored stucco and concrete structure. The building is located on landscaped grounds in the center of Thompson Falls. The building has a raised basement and the north front has a red colored brick central entrance with a canopy extending from the building. The building has a recessed section on the east side of the north front. The roof line is flat. In the interior, the County District Court courtroom is located on the west side of the third story. The building houses the County District Court of the 20th Judicial District and County Justice Court. The County Justice Court courtroom is located on the east side of the first story basement. On the south side of the building is the old red colored brick jail which is a museum.


 Note:  The two-story Italianate style jail was built in 1907 by contractors Christian and Gobelet at a cost of $5,000. The building is Thompson Falls’ oldest surviving county building. The structure was originally divided into incarceration cells on the second level and living quarters for the sheriff and his family on the first, with separate entrances for each level. The Paully Jail Company of St. Louis installed the four cells, each designed to hold four individuals. One cell, separated from the others, was for women and children detainees.


See:  National Register of Historic Places – Old Sanders County Jail


See:  The 20th Judicial District includes Lake County and Sanders County.


History:  The county was created in 1905 and Thompson Falls was selected as the county seat in 1906. The first courthouse was a large two story frame structure designed by Kennedy and built by James Lyon in 1907 beside the old jail. The second and present courthouse was constructed in 1949 to 1950.



County Courthouse – Thompson Falls









County District Court courtroom

















County Justice Court courtroom







Picture 1907 County Courthouse



Old County Jail – Thompson Falls



Photos taken 2009 and 2022