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Polk County

Polk County is named for James K Polk, who was the eight President of the United States of America.


Surrounding County Courthouses: 

N – Burnett County

E – Barron County

S – Saint Croix County

W – Washington County, Minnesota and Chisago County, Minnesota


Created:  March 14, 1853                       Map of Wisconsin highlighting Polk County

County Seat: 

Balsam Lake  1853 – present


County Justice Center – Balsam Lake


Location:  1005 West Main Street / Highway 46 West

Built:  2000 – 2002

Style:  Modern

Architect:  Venture Architect of Milwaukee

Contractor:  Miron Construction of Black River Falls


Description:  The building faces north and is a two story buff colored brick and concrete structure. The building is located on spacious landscaped grounds on the northwest side of the center of Balsam Lake. The front entrance section has a circular second story with vertical brick dividers on the first story forming a semi circle. The rest of the building has square lines. The roof line is flat. In the interior, there is an entrance lobby on the north side and a long north-south corridor. There are three County Circuit courtrooms along the east side of the corridor. The building houses the County Circuit Court of the 10th Judicial District. The building is named as the “Polk County Justice Center”. 


County Administration Building – Balsam Lake



Location:  100 Polk County Plaza / Highway 46 West

Built:  1973 – 1974

Style:  Modern

Architect:  Hirsch Associates Inc. of Hudson

Contractor:  Bor-Son Construction Inc.


Description:  The building faces south and is a three story grey concrete and glass  structure. The building is located on spacious landscaped grounds on the northwest side of the center of Balsam Lake and north of the County Justice Center. The south front has a recessed central entrance with horizontal window above. The west section extends from the main building. The windows are horizontal and the roof line is flat. The building descends a slope towards the north. The building is called the “Polk County Government Center”. The building served as the courthouse.


Old County Courthouse – Balsam Lake



Location:  120 Main Street / Mill Street

Built:  1899 – 1900

Style:  Romanesque

Architect:  Orff & Guilbert

Contractor:  Fred C Norlander


Description:  The building faces west and is a two story red colored brick and stone structure. The building is located on landscaped grounds in the center of Balsam Lake. The first story entrance extends from the main building and has an arch and balcony on the second story. Behind the entrance rises a five story square brick tower with peaked roof. On each of the building corners are large square towers with peaked roofs. The building is now the Polk County Museum.


See:  National Register of Historic Places – Old Polk County Courthouse


Old County Courthouse – Osceola



Location:  201 Cascade Street / 2nd Avenue West

Built:  1874 – 1875

Style:  Commercial

Architect:  Veit Geiger

Contractor:  Veit Geiger


Description:  The building faces east and is a two story cream colored stone structure. The building is located in the center of Osceola. The building is the Geiger Building / Old Polk County Courthouse and was originally built as a saloon. The second story was added in 1880. The east facade features a cast iron front with a recessed entrance flanked by large windows on the street level; a second entrance on the north end of the east facade provides access to the second level. Between 1882 and 1898 when Polk County leased the structure, the basement housed the county jail, the first level housed all county offices, and the third level contained apartments for the county sheriff and judge.


See:  National Register of Historic Places – Geiger Building / Old Polk County Courthouse


See:  The 10th Judicial District includes Ashland CountyBarron County, Bayfield County, Burnett CountyChippewa County, Douglas CountyDunn County, Eau Claire CountyRusk County, Saint Croix County, Sawyer County and Washburn County


History:  The county was created in 1853 and St Croix Falls was selected as the county seat The first Court met in a schoolhouse. Later in 1853, the county seat was moved to Osceola. The first courthouse was a building built by Veit Geiger in 1874 to 1875 and is still standing. In 1898 the county seat was moved to Balsam Lake. The second courthouse was constructed in 1899 to 1900 and is still standing. The third courthouse was constructed in 1973 to 1974 and is still standing. The fourth and present courthouse was constructed in 2000 to 2002.



County Justice Center – Balsam Lake





















County Circuit Court courtroom









County Administration – Balsam Lake









Old County Courthouse – Balsam Lake









Old County Courthouse – Osceola



Photos taken 2007. 2010 and 2022