Cascade County Courthouse
Located prominently in the heart of Great Falls, the Cascade County Courthouse has served as the seat of county government since its construction in 1903. The building is a beautiful example of French Renaissance architecture and features a grey sandstone exterior, a large copper dome topped by a Statue of Justice, and a main entrance with a marble-columned portico and a pair of stairs leading to the front doors. The dome rests on a structure circular structure with columned porticos and reaches a height of 135 feet at the top of the statue. The courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a contributing property of the Great Falls Northside Residential Historic District, which is also on the register.
Backstory and Context
Cascade County was founded in 1887, two years before Montana achieved statehood and around thirty years after the first settlers arrived in what is now Great Falls. County government offices were first located in a hotel and then were moved to another building. In 1891, efforts to build a courthouse began when the county bought the property on which the courthouse now stands. However, it took another ten years until construction got underway (there wasn't enough money available). Residents approved a bonds sale of $120,000 to fund the project and the county hired architects H.N. Black and Frank Longstaff. Construction began in November 1901 and was finally completed on July 4, 1903. An interesting anecdote about the courthouse is that during World War II, lookouts were stationed in the dome to watch for Japanese attacks.
Faccenda, Philip M. "Cascade County Courthouse." National Park Service - National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. April 16, 1980. https://npgallery.nps.gov/NRHP/GetAsset/NRHP/80002401_text.
The Montana National Register Sign Program. “Cascade County Courthouse.” Montana Historical Society - Digital Vault. Accessed July 30, 2020, http://digitalvault.mhs.mt.gov/items/show/20087.
Wikimedia Commons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cascade_Co_Courthouse_outside_3.JPG