Rolla is a small town in south central Missouri. It is also the county seat of Phelps County. Over the years, the county government has occupied three different buildings. We are fortunate that all three buildings are still standing and still in use by the people of Phelps County. They are all located across the street from one another.
The three buildings have definite differences in architecture based on the eras in which they were constructed.
The first Phelps County Courthouse was the John A. Dillon House, built of hand-hewn logs in 1857. Today it houses the Phelps County Museum
The Old Courthouse was built in 1859, and was used for county business from 1860-1994. It was built of sand-mud brick, the first brick to be made in Rolla. The Old Courthouse was built at the cost of $7,975.00, of which $2000.00 was denied the builder due to a claim of poor workmanship.
During the years of the Civil War, the Old Courthouse was used as a hospital, and at one time, as a storage building for horse’s hay.
The courthouse in use today was built in 1994 with a distinctly modern architectural style.
Three eras, three distinctly different courthouse architectural styles, one county seat. I am glad we have chosen to preserve all three of them!