Northland Uncovered: The Douglas County Courthouse Celebrates 100 Years

Northland Uncovered: The Douglas County Courthouse was built in 1919

SUPERIOR, Wis. – At the time it was built, the Douglas County Courthouse stood for growth.

“The shipyards were operating, a lot of activity going on here and we had a lot of industry,” long time county board member Douglas Finn said.

The original courthouse sat on the Nemdaji river, but in the midst of a booming population a new one was needed.

“They actually thought it was going to be the new Chicago,” board member Mark Liebeart said.

By December 1919, half a million dollars later, the neoclassic structure was built and in use by March of 1920. With marble columns, copper doors and 600 lb chandeliers in each courtroom, the courthouse was unlike anything seen before.

“You couldn’t afford to build a building like this anymore,” Liebeart said.

It wasn’t just residents that noticed how special the courthouse was.

“One of the more significant things was Calvin Coolidge spent the Summer here,” Finn said.

Facing several renovations and additions- the county jail was built just years after the courthouse. And later, the city of Superior’s government offices.

“A hundred years from now, we plan that this building be in as good a shape as it is today,” Liebeart said.

In march 1982, the courthouse was put on the National Register of Historic Buildings- it may face future renovations but plans to remain the center structure of Douglas county for years to come.

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