Visit the birthplace of statehood! Walk the halls of North Dakota’s oldest courthouse and see historic preservation in action. Rescued from demolition by the Jamestown community in the 1980s, the courthouse has recently undergone a dramatic facelift and is open to the public Wednesday-Sunday 10am-5pm. Explore this architectural gem and learn more about Jamestown during the days of Dakota Territory.
Visit North Dakota’s oldest courthouse and the birthplace of statehood! Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is significant for its architectural style, and for its pressed metal interior, which coats the interior walls of the building. The courthouse has the most complete collection of pressed tin in the state of North Dakota and perhaps, the Midwest. It is the only remaining North Dakota building directly related to the activities of the 1880s statehood movement. Delegates to the State’s constitutional convention were elected here and meetings were held in 1885 to discuss the division of Dakota Territory. The Stutsman County Courthouse truly is the birthplace of statehood.
Designed by Henry C. Koch, a Wisconsin architect, the courthouse was completed in less than a year. The building served as the center of county government until the early 1980s when Stutsman County vacated the premises and attempted to demolish it in favor of a parking lot. Local citizens rallied to save the building and after 15 years of legal battles, ownership of the courthouse was transferred to the State Historical Society in 1991.
Restoration efforts have been continuous since the 1990s. In recent years, the courthouse has seen tremendous progress on the interior restoration. Visitors to the site will truly see historic preservation in action!
In 2020 the 1883 Courthouse became one of the first museums in the U.S. to specialize in American Civics. From the courtroom to the surveyor's office, hands-on objects support enjoyable experiences for the whole family.
Memorial Day weekend - Labor Day
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Wednesday - Sunday
(Closed Mondays and Tuesdays)
504 Third Ave. SE
Jamestown, ND 58401
1883 Escape Room
A new historical experience housed in what was once an actual jail cell. Book Today!