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Brown County


Brown County is named for Alfred Brown of Hutchinson County, who served as a territorial legislator in 1879.


Surrounding County Courthouses: 

N – Dickey County, North Dakota

E – Marshall County

S – Day County and Spink County

W – McPherson County


Created:  October 1, 1879                      Map of South Dakota highlighting Brown County

County Seat:

Columbia   1881 – 1887

Aberdeen  1887 – 1889

Columbia   1889 – 1890

Aberdeen  1890 – present


County Courthouse – Aberdeen


Location:  101 Southeast 1st Avenue / South Lincoln Street

Built:  1904 – 1905

Style:  Classical Revival and Renaissance

Architect:  Kinney and Detweiler of Minneapolis, Minnesota

Contractor:  Miller & Company


Description:  The building faces south and is a two story buff colored sandstone and concrete structure. The building is located on landscaped grounds in the center of Aberdeen. The building is constructed with cut Berea sandstone. Two giant Corinthian brown colored columns of Ortonville granite decorate the front entrance, which is topped with a Greek style pediment. Quoins enhance the building on all corners. Third story windows on the corners and near the entrances are round-headed with keystones in the Renaissance tradition. Second story windows have triangular pediments. All of the other windows on all floors have plain surrounds. At the center of the roof is a large open cupola supported by columns with a four faced clock and gold colored Statue of Justice at the top. Two different sizes of Roman Doric columns in sets of two support the dome. A balustrade runs along the flat roof line. In the interior is a large stained glass window on the south side of the third story. The County Circuit Court courtroom is located on the east side of the third story and contains a mural by Odin J Oyen of Madison, Wisconsin. The small Magistrate’s Court courtroom is located on the southwest side of the third story. A small County Circuit Court courtroom is located at the southeast side of the second story. The building houses the County Circuit Court of the 5th Judicial Circuit and the County Magistrate Court. 


Note:  The Berea sandstone used on the walls was quarried near Cleveland, Ohio. The giant Corinthian columns of Ortonville granite are twenty feet high and twenty-eight inches in diameter at the base. These columns were said to be the largest single-piece columns west of Chicago when they were placed on the Brown County Courthouse.


See:  Odin J Oyen of La Crosse, Wisconsin painted murals in the courthouses located in Iowa – Osceola CountyMichigan – Shiawassee County; Minnesota – Grant CountyNorth Dakota – Cass CountySouth Dakota –  Yankton Countyand Wisconsin – La Crosse County (demolished), Lafayette County, Langlade County and Manitowoc County.


See:  The architect, Kinney & Detweiler of Minneapolis, Minnesota designed many courthouses.


See:  National Register of Historic Places – Brown County Courthouse


See:  The 5th Judicial Circuit includes Campbell County, Day County, Edmunds CountyFaulk CountyMarshall County, McPherson CountyRoberts County, Spink County and Walworth County.


History. The county was created in 1879 and Columbia was selected as the county seat in 1881 when the county was organized. The first courthouse was erected in Columbia after 1879. The county seat was moved to Aberdeen in 1887. The county seat was moved back to Columbia in 1889 and again returned to Aberdeen in 1890. The second courthouse was a wood frame structure built in 1890 and the first courthouse in Columbia became a school. The third and present courthouse was constructed in 1902 to 1904 at a cost of $120,000.


County Administration Building – Aberdeen



Location:  101 Southeast 1st Avenue / South Lincoln Street

Built:  1972 – 1973

Style:  Modern

Architect:  Herges, Kirchgasler & Associates

Contractor:  Kyburz Construction Inc.


Description:  The building faces south and is a two story buff colored brick and concrete structure. The building is located on the west side of the courthouse in the center of Aberdeen. The south section of the building is one story and the north section rises to two stories. The roof line is flat. The building is named as the County Office Building.



County Courthouse – Aberdeen





















County Circuit Court courtroom







County Administration Building – Aberdeen



Photos taken 2006, 2009 and 2016