Century-old courthouse in Amidon to be demolished; last wood-frame courthouse in North Dakota


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AMIDON, North Dakota — The last remaining wood-frame courthouse in North Dakota will soon be history.

The Slope County Commission on Aug. 19 will accept bids for the demolition of the courthouse in Amidon. The century-old two-story building is being replaced by a $4 million one-story brick courthouse under construction nearby.

"It's coming along. It's starting to look like a building," Auditor Lorrie Buzalsky told The Bismarck Tribune (http://bit.ly/1y5rpia ).

The modern courthouse, funded by existing county money including mineral royalty funds, is expected to be ready in about two months. It will include more offices and a meeting room. It will enable the county to administer jury trials. There is no space for a jury in the current courtroom.

Some of the old courthouse furnishings will be sold at auction, including metal doors on the fireproof records vault, air conditioning units and unwanted furniture. The space where the current courthouse sits will be turned into a parking lot.

Project architect Al Fitterer said he appreciates the historical nature of the old courthouse, which was built in 1917 with tax revenue paid by ranchers in the rural southwestern county. But from an architectural perspective, "It's pretty nondescript," he said.

Amidon once held the designation of being the smallest county seat in the nation. It now has about 30 residents, and lost the designation in the 2010 census.

Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

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