About Montgomery County
The area known as Montgomery County was originally part of the
Pottawattamie Purchase in 1846. The county was established
by the General Assembly on January 15, 1851, and was named in
honor of General Richard Montgomery who died at the assault
of Quebec in the Revolutionary War.
The first county courthouse was built in Frankfort, Iowa in
1857, named in honor Frankfort,
Kentucky, the hometown of the judge who appointed the
commissioners to select the county seat. It was 20-foot by
40-foot, a simple wood-frame structure, that cost
$1,141.50. After a contest between Frankfort and Red Oak
for the county seat, the courthouse was moved by hitching
it to a team of oxen and towed to Red Oak in the winter of
1865. During the move, the men had to abandon the building
in favor of shelter as a blizzard came up. When they
returned, they had lost the courthouse in the snow.
Although it was eventually found, the "lost courthouse"
was a great joke in Montgomery County for many years. A second story was added to the old courthouse, but it was still not large enough for the growing
needs of the county.
Two attempts to build a new
courthouse failed, but finally the people approved the
building of a new one in the summer of 1889 (photo left). The second, and current courthouse, was built in 1890.
This building is made of nearly fireproof sandstone and
red brick. It is 91-foot by 72-foot and 60-feet high with
the clock tower extending another 40 feet. The courthouse
has become the centerpiece of Red Oak and Montgomery
County and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
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