On the Porch
Lyon County Courthouse
By: Jennifer Andries
“Governor Marshall appointed a few county officers and vested them with power to begin county government. It was proposed to organize in December 1869, but owing to the absence of two of the county commissioners it had to be postponed, and the machinery of county government was not set in motion until August 12, 1870. At that time the first meeting of the Board of County Commissioners was held at the home of Luman Ticknor, in Upper Lynd.”
The above passage is from Arthur P. Rose’s 1912 book, “An Illustrated History of Lyon County, Minnesota”. In this detailed history of the early settlement of Lyon County, Rose described the county and township organization along with the early political dynamics. The first act of the newly formed board of county commissioners was the selection of the county seat. The county seat was established in Upper Lynd, and it remained there for two years until the county business was transacted at Lower Lynd. Lower Lynd remained the seat of government until it moved to Marshall in January of 1874, as the result of an election the year prior.
There were unsuccessful attempts in 1874 to levy a tax to build a courthouse, but a small building was constructed in Marshall in 1876. It was not until 15 years later that interest in building a new courthouse was renewed. Excavation work for the courthouse began in July on 1891, with a dedication set for January 15, 1892. A fire on January 8 virtually destroyed the completed building. A contract for rebuilding was set in March, and the building was accepted by the county commissioners in November of 1892. Renovations and additions to the original structure occurred in 1939 and 1975. The remaining original building was demolished in 1994.