Rosebud, Montana

Brief History of Courthouse
as told to Commissioner Stahl by Judge Alfred B. Coate

Rosebud County Courthouse

Rosebud County was formed in 1901.  The Rosebud County Courthouse was built in 1912 after a bond issue passed.  After the construction was completed, the land and building came to $107,080.00 and the landscaping was yet to be done nor had the furnishings been purchased.  The grand total come to approximately $175,000. or nearly $50,000. over budget.  Therefore, the contractors locked the door and wouldn't let anyone in until it was paid for.  The people of Forsyth protested and the Judge called a Grand Jury, put the contractors in jail and eventually the courthouse was opened.

The first case held in the Courtroom was a lawsuit concerning water rights.

Nancy McCaffree - Chairwoman of the Public Service Commission, did the stained glass work in the front window.

In 1916 the huge furnace was installed.  Coal was dropped into the furnace as it was coal burning heat.  The basement was stocked with supplies with the intent to use it as a bomb shelter.

Even though the majority of Forsyth was under water during the great flood of 1919, the courthouse was one of the few places that saw no water damage.

The law library, located on the third floor, was originally designed to be used as a jury room complete with cots so that the jury could be sequestered; when women were allowed to serve as jurors in 1939, the jury room was converted into the current law library.  There is a painting of the old courthouse in the library.

There is a bullet hole located in one of the seats in the Courtroom.  It seems a trial was being held and there was a question as to whether a particular shotgun could accidentally go off.  The Sheriff said it simply wasn't possible and as he shook the gun to make his point, it fired!  (see Shotgun Blast in the Panel Behind the Bench)

In 1927 the Richland County Commissioners used the Rosebud County Courthouse plan to build an identical building in Sidney but with brick facing instead of sandstone.

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