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National and State Registers of Historic Places

Crawford County Courthouse

Picture of property 111 E Forest, Courthouse Square
Girard (Crawford County)
Listed in National Register 2009-04-22

Architect: Tonini and Bramblet
Category: courthouse
Thematic Nomination: Historic County Courthouses of Kansas

The story of the early efforts to erect a courthouse in Crawford County is quite colorful. Girard became the county seat in 1868 and occupied a 20' x 40' frame building. A petition to build a more permanent building failed in 1870 and the county purchased a stone commercial building. A tornado foiled their efforts to erect a brick courthouse in 1872, and the need for a permanent building became more urgent by the mid-1880s as the neighboring town of Pittsburg gained prominence. Its population tripled that of Girard's by 1883. Like other early county seats, Girard was slowed by a state law that prohibited the construction of courthouses without a bond election. The law made it impossible for the county to obtain majority support for a new courthouse in Girard, where a small percentage of the county's population lived. To skirt the law, Girard retained an architect to design a new brick "city hall" on the courthouse square. After the building's completion in 1889, the City of Girard promptly donated the three-story brick Gothic Revival building to Crawford County. The building, however, lacked structural integrity from the beginning and it was demolished in 1919. The Kansas Legislature passed a law eliminating the bond-issue requirement in 1917 paving the way for a new courthouse to be built in Girard. The current Classical Revival-style courthouse was designed by Oklahoma-based firm of Tonini and Bramblet and completed in 1922. It was nominated as part of the "Historic County Courthouses of Kansas" multiple property listing for its association with local government and its Classical Revival architecture.

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