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Lafayette County

Lafayette County is named for Marie Joseph Paul Lafayette, who was a French general who fought in the American Revolutionary War and who lived from 1757 to 1834.


Surrounding County Courthouses: 

N – Iowa County

E – Green County

S – Stephenson County, Illinois and Jo Daviess County, Illinois

W – Grant County


Created:   January 31, 1846                   Map of Wisconsin highlighting Lafayette County

County Seat: 

Shullberg   1853 – 1857

Darlington   1857 – present


County Courthouse – Darlington


Location:  626 Main Street / Harriet Street

Built:  1905 – 1907

Style:  Classical Revival

Architect:  Frank W Kinney & Meno S Detweiler of Minneapolis, Minnesota

Contractor:  General Construction Company.


Description:  The building faces east and is a two story limestone and sandstone  structure. The building is located on landscaped grounds in the center of Darlington. The east front has a high portico supported by two columns rising to a pediment at the roof line. The exterior walls are of buff limestone ashlar construction with rusticated quoins and having a classical balustrade serving as a roof parapet. The roof is hipped and on center is a tall, staged cupola. The first stage has Ionic colonettes framing four windows facing the cardinal points and rusticated limestone quoins. On the center of the roof is a high square open cupola with clock and green colored dome. The cupola allows natural light to flood through an interior stained-glass circular skylight of soft yellow-ochre glass panels highlighted with small classical details in strong blues and greens. A brown-and-dark-yellow Greek meander of stained glass surrounds the composition. The skylight is among the richest to be found in the state’s courthouses and allows light to illuminate one of the handsomest and most colorful courthouse interiors in Wisconsin. Sunlight is allowed to penetrate to the bottom level of the courthouse through an opaque-glass grid serving as the floor of the second story. The courtroom located on the second story is in excellent and original condition, and is quite ornate for a small courthouse. Recessed ceiling panels frame an elaborate central panel with gilt accents and a suspended ornamental light fixture. A large mural painted by Din J Oyen depicting a winged Justice is found on a side wall opposite pedimented windows. Behind the large, wood bench are found two cherubs flanking the inscription, “The liberty of a people consists in being governed by laws which they have made themselves.” The building houses the County Circuit Court of the 5th Judicial District. 


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


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 –  Brown County and Yankton Countyand Wisconsin – La Crosse County (demolished), Langlade County and Manitowoc County.


See:  National Register of Historic Places – Lafayette County Courthouse


See:  The 5th Judicial District includes Columbia CountyDane County, Green CountyRock County and Sauk County


History:  The county was created in 1846 and Shullberg was selected as the county seat in 1853. The county seat was moved to Darlington in 1857. The first courthouse was a three story stone structure built in 1861. The second and present courthouse was constructed in 1905 to 1906 at a cost of $136,500.


See:  Located in the county is the site of the First Wisconsin Territorial Capital at Belmont.


County Courthouse – Darlington

























County Circuit Court courtroom













Site of First Wisconsin Territorial Capital – Belmont



Photos taken 1997, 2006 and 2023