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Lusk in Niobrara County, Wyoming — The American West (Mountains)
 

Niobrara County Courthouse

A Public Office is a Public Trust

 
 
Niobrara County Courthouse Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, July 30, 2022
1. Niobrara County Courthouse Marker
Inscription.  
Niobrara County was created from the former territory of Converse County by an act of the Wyoming Legislature on February 14, 1911 and was organized January 6, 1913. Lusk was designated as the county seat. Both the creation of the county, and the choice of Lusk over Manville as the county seat were highly contentious and debated topics at the time.

Quarters for the county offices were established in the Fraternal Building, and the county paid a monthly rental of $125 to the Masonic Lodge. One of the first acts of the new Board of County Commissioners was to purchase land for the construction of the new jail, which was constructed in 1913. The present courthouse was later erected on this ground.

Funds for the construction of the courthouse were not approved until 1918. At the general election on November 6, 1918, results of the bond election showed 422 favorable votes and 393 votes against the $60,000 courthouse bonds, which were also to cover necessary furnishings and equipment. Total cost of construction and furnishings was $82,405. The building officially opened February 2, 1920.

The 19th century style of the courthouse
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was often used in the central states for such government buildings. The two story building is constructed of deep red brick, with porticoes on the east and south entrances. The legend "A Public Office Is a Public Trust" is above the south entrance. White colored trim decorates the roofline and the base is a white colored brick. A bronze statue of "Justice" with her scales originally topped a dome with four large clocks, the faces of which could be seen from every corner of the town. Four main offices were provided on the first floor, two offices on the second floor with courtroom, and also rooms in the basement.

"Justice" was removed in 1930 due to weight shifting and vibrations caused by high winds resulting in damage to the roof. She was eventually scrapped for the war effort in World War II. Along with "Justice" went the dome. There is now a small square white cupola on the center of the roof.

Over one hundred years later, the Courthouse stands nearly unchanged from its original construction. In 1987 a Detention Center was added to the north side.
 
Erected by Niobrara Historical Society.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ArchitectureFraternal or Sororal OrganizationsGovernment & PoliticsWar, World II. A significant historical date for this entry is February 2, 1920.
 
Location.
Marker detail: Niobrara County Courthouse (1920) image. Click for full size.
2. Marker detail: Niobrara County Courthouse (1920)
The Courthouse as it appeared in 1920. Note the unpaved streets and the jail, built in 1913 on the left.
42° 45.603′ N, 104° 27.056′ W. Marker is in Lusk, Wyoming, in Niobrara County. Marker is at the intersection of East 5th Street and South Elm Street, on the left when traveling east on East 5th Street. Marker is located beside the sidewalk, near the southeast corner of the subject building. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 424 South Elm Street, Lusk WY 82225, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Lusk House (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Wyoming National Guard Armory (about 700 feet away); Oldest Building in Lusk (approx. 0.2 miles away); Redwood Water Tank (approx. 0.4 miles away); a different marker also named Redwood Water Tank (approx. 0.4 miles away); The C & H Refinery (approx. half a mile away); Breaks in the Prairie (approx. 1.8 miles away); Lusk Rest Area (approx. 1.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lusk.
 
Also see . . .  Niobrara County Courthouse.
Niobrara County, Wyoming’s smallest county with a population of only 2,200 people, boasts one of the state’s most beautiful and ornate courthouses. The Classical Revival courthouse was designed by Casper architect George E. McDonald, who also designed the 1919 Casper City Hall and a number of courthouses in Nebraska and Missouri. An elaborate
Niobrara County Courthouse Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, July 30, 2022
3. Niobrara County Courthouse Marker
(looking northwest • Niobrara County Courthouse in background)
one-story portico adorns the main entrance facing south on South Fifth Street. The portico is supported by eight brick piers resting on stone bases and topped with Scamozzi Ionic capitals. The piers support a frieze with fretwork interrupted on the facade with capital letters reading, “A Public Office is a Public Trust.” The first floor of the courthouse has a central circular space, with hallways leading south, east, and west, and a stairway to the north. The hallways have segmental arches rising from attached columns with Ionic capitals. Dark-stained wood trim, plaster walls and ceiling, lighting fixtures, and the wood stair railing are all original.
(Submitted on August 5, 2022, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Niobrara County Courthouse (<i>east elevation</i>) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, July 30, 2022
4. Niobrara County Courthouse (east elevation)
Niobrara County Courthouse (<i>south [front] elevation</i>) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, July 30, 2022
5. Niobrara County Courthouse (south [front] elevation)
Niobrara County Jail (built 1913) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, July 30, 2022
6. Niobrara County Jail (built 1913)
(adjacent to courthouse - on west side)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 5, 2022. It was originally submitted on August 5, 2022, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 121 times since then and 34 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on August 5, 2022, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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May. 27, 2024