Westmoreland Citizens’ Building Association formed to facilitate construction of a $10,000 courthouse.
Josiah Comfort, president, and John Pfaff, secretary, of the Westmoreland Citizens’ Building Association presented the new courthouse to the County Commission. County Commission ordered that the County officers move their offices and all paper, books and records belonging to the County into the new courthouse the very next day.
The courthouse survives an attic fire caused by a faulty furnace. The fire charred the roof beams and burned a hole in the wood-framed roof. A large turnbuckle was installed in the east to west walls for stabilization.
Public restrooms were added to the ground floor, as well as a jury room with restrooms on the second floor.
A second story is added to the west vault to provide a secure vault for court records.
A two-story bay is added to the southeast corner of the building. The office for the county assessor is added to the ground floor, as well as the chamber for the district judge along with a meeting room to the second floor.
The courthouse survives a lightning strike that resulted in several broken water lines and damage to the latest (1976) addition.
In the 25 years after the arrival of pioneers on Rock Creek, many other settlers had come to the Westmoreland area. Most of these pioneers had children when they came or had them shortly after arriving. By 1880, most of this second generation was almost grown up or had already reached adulthood. It was quite fitting that this young, hopeful, and excited second generation would be in their prime when the most important and exciting event occurred in the history of the community.
In 1882, a county-wide election was conducted to locate a permanent county seat. Due to an incredible series of events, Westmoreland, a tiny village, isolated in the middle of the county, won the election and the right to have a county seat. To understand the events that led the county seat to Westmoreland, one has to flash back 25 years in Pottawatomie County History.
(The September 19, 1882 election gave the County Seat to Westmoreland, but….)
Throughout 1883 pressure began to build again to relocate the county seat elsewhere in Pottawatomie County. In March of 1884 a petition was circulated throughout the county to remove the county offices from Westmoreland. The threat of this petition told the townspeople of Westmoreland that if a more permanent structure was not built soon, the county seat would be possibly moved again.
Very quickly, the townspeople came up with plans to build a modern two-story rock structure that would become the permanent home of the county seat. Within a year, the townspeople had collected $10,000 in donations from the people of Westy to build the structure. The structure was to be built on land donated by David Kitts between 1st and 2nd Streets, just north of Main Street. In March of 1884, a derrick was set up to quarry the stone on land owned by Adam Scott, south of town. The citizens of the Westy community provided the labor throughout the hot summer and by September of 1884, the courthouse was ready for business.
Pottawatomie county is having another county seat fight. Louisville wants to get it away from Westmoreland, and dispatches say it has a good show of doing so. Frankfort Bee (It will be cold or windy day, Bro Bowen, when Louisville gets the county seat away from here, for nothing short of a cyclone will ever take it there.)
Notwithstanding the rain of Monday night and the wind of Tuesday morning, quite early in the day our city was filled to overflowing with visitors who came to the city in order to be present at the laying of the cornerstone of the new $10,000 court house.
In this day of cement mixers and big wrecking balls, it’s common practice to remove the old, historic landmarks, replacing them with square concrete blocks that resemble nothing more than an architect’s nightmare.
You would never guess what anniversary this is, or about is. So, I’ll remind you that about a year has passed since an item in the Herald stated that the County Commissioners from the 1st and 3rd Districts had decided to build a new courthouse for us. We, the taxpayers, were to furnish the money, of course. They were only doing the deciding.
History of the county seat O. F. Maskil gives the history of the courthouse. The history of the courthouse can be divided into three parts. The persons who have served as county officials are one part of the story—and a part that I shall not recite. I may mention a little about the offices themselves, but very little.
Pottawatomie County’s courthouse faces possible replacement Like worn-out vehicles, there comes a point in the life of all buildings at which it costs more to continue to maintain and use them than it does to replace them.