LYON COUNTY GENEALOGY
COUNTY SEAT AND COURT HOUSE
When first set off from Woodbury county, the official business of Lyon was transacted nominally at the village of Beloit, but in fact, chiefly at the homes of the various officers: but at the September session of the Board of Supervisors, it was decided that the county had advanced sufficiently to demand a more permanent county seat headquarters. Rock Rapids being near the geographical center of the county, it was, without much opposition, chosen as the place. Accordingly the supervisors named as a temporary county seat certain buildings at that point as officers' headquarters and ordered the several officials to remove there with their books and other effects, within twenty days. The vote by the board stood:
Charles Johnson and J.S. Howard, "Yes:" and H.T. Helgerson, "No". The November session of the Board of Supervisors convened at Rock Rapids.
January 13, 1873, Judge Henry Ford, District Judge, appointed a commission of three men to locate a county seat. They were, M.D. Burkett, B.V. McCormick and D.L. Riley, and they soon reported that the selection they had made was on the northwest quarter of section --, township 99, range 45, or at what was already named Rock Rapids. The report was duly received and adopted, hence the county seat contests so commonly in many of the Iowa counties was here obviated.
At the April, 1873, board meeting, steps were taken toward providing a court house. Under the law the supervisors could appropriate not to exceed five thousand dollars for the construction of such a building, so plans and specifications were made and bids opened, May 5, 1873, for the erection of such a building. O.A. Cheney drew the plans and specifications and S.C. Hyde was awarded the contract to build the court house. In the meantime a new provision of the law had gone into effect, by which by a vote of the people a larger sum might be expended for a court house. After voting upon the question at the general election and carrying the proposition to expend $10,000 by voting a five-mill tax for a court house, and April 6, 1874, S.C. Hyde was awarded the contract at $10,000. The building was to be completed by August 1, 1875, which contract was carried out. The building was a frame, two-story structure and still serves the needs of the county. The building, grounds, furniture and fixtures cost about $14,000. when all bills were paid. The cornerstone was set June 24, 1874. Within it was placed American, German, English and Norwegian coins; copies of the Rock Rapids Review, Beloit Times, and various state journals, and the names of the county officials of that date.
Source: Compendium of History Reminiscence and Biography of Lyon County, Iowa. Published under the Auspices of the Pioneer Association of Lyon County. Geo. Monlun, Pres.; Hon. E. C. Roach Secy; and Col. F. M. Thompson, Historian. Geo. A. Ogle & CO., Published, Engravers and Book Manufacturers. Chicago, 1904-1905
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