top of page



The Imperial Ward County courthouse, a symbol of justice on the prairie and representing administrative authority, was established November 25, 1885, at 9:30 a.m., in the store operated by J. L. Colton, in Burlington.


Under a plan established by the Territorial Legislature, Gov. Gilbert A. Pierre called for an election on April 14, 1885. With Colton's store and a place at Mill Timber (Logan) near the east border of the county designated as polling places, 56 votes were cast approving the creation of the original Ward County and accepting Burlington as the county seat. 


On April 26, 1886, the county clerk was instructed to report to the Board of Commissioners the cost of materials for a courthouse. For lumber and hauling costs from Devils Lake, W. L. Miller was paid $73.19 and Herman Christenson was paid $12 for work on the construction.  In October 1886, the Commissioners instructed the Clerk to purchase a stove and to have an additional window installed. They approved the payment of $7.94 for the purchase of nails, a window, and a door. (Until this time, burlap bags covered the window frames.) The building served as the official courthouse for five years until a new structure was erected in Minot. On August 7, 1891, the Commissioners sold the original courthouse to Mr. Colton for $20. 

On October 27, 1891, the Commissioners accepted a new courthouse and jail, which were built on the site of the present courthouse in Minot. In 1928, this structure was razed and a new courthouse -- the current structure -- was built. 

In 1953, the Ward County Historical Society took possession of the original courthouse, which had been used as a granary. For a cost of $2,500, it was moved to the Pioneer Village Historical Museum. 

bottom of page