In February of 1918, residents of Crosby had a lot to celebrate; they were dedicating the new Divide County Courthouse. The building was given its formal housewarming on this date.
The Crosby Review promised that “this event promises to be of unusual importance, as it will be the first time that the doors of this magnificent building will have been thrown open to the public. The building is a beautiful structure and an excellent opportunity will be given the public to view it in its entirety.”
The whole county was invited; and aside from this adoring public, special guests included Governor Frazier and his wife, as well as county officials and other prominent citizens from around the state.
The courthouse was a one of thirteen courthouses in North Dakota designed by the local firm of Buechner and Orth, from St. Paul. The other courthouses were in Traill, McHenry, LaMoure, Pierce, Foster, Sargent, Dickey, Richland, Pembina, Grand Forks, Mountrail, and McIntosh counties.
Divide County's courthouse was the only one of the thirteen located on the main street of town. It was constructed of red brick with white limestone highlights, and featured a tall dome tower with a clock facing the street. Inside, the building had terrazzo floors and dark wood trim, and the stairwells and landings had walls decorated with stenciling, while the rotunda contained a mural and stencil-painted dome ceiling. The dome showcased four murals with scenes of early area history: one section showed Native Americans traveling on horseback, one showed a railroad town, one a dairy farm, and one a sod house homestead.
The formal dedication used the spacious court room for a dance, with music from the Palen orchestra from the nearby town of Noonan. There were other amusements as well, and a lunch was served by the Crosby chapter of the Red Cross.
Tickets to the event were $2 per couple, with additional ladies admitted free of charge. Since the $2 also covered the costs of lunch, a mere 25 cents was asked from these extra ladies to help pay for the meal. Incidentally, all profits were contributed to the Divide County chapter of the Red Cross – a sign of the times, with the Great War waging across the ocean.
Dakota Datebook by Sarah Walker
Tags: National Historic Preservation, National Register of Historic Places, Crosby, Courthouse, Divide County, Red Cross, WWI
Sources: National Register of Historic Places nomination form
The Devils Lake World and Inter-Ocean, Feb. 27, 1918, p1
The Crosby Review, Friday, Feb. 18, 1918, p1