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State’s last wooden courthouse to be demolished: Slope Co. Commission taking bids for demolition; new building going up

AMIDON -- Anyone driving down U.S. Highway 85 through Amidon should take a lingering look at the last remaining wood-frame courthouse in North Dakota.

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Bismarck Tribune Photo by Lauren Donovan The historic Slope County Courthouse in Amidon, shown in this undated photo, will be replaced soon by a new brick structure.

AMIDON - Anyone driving down U.S. Highway 85 through Amidon should take a lingering look at the last remaining wood-frame courthouse in North Dakota.
After standing tall for 97 years, the historical building won’t be on the landscape much longer.
The Slope County Commission will take bids for its demolition until Aug. 19, now that a modern, one-level, handicapped-accessible courthouse is being built in the old building’s front yard.
The commission, with support from county citizens, decided it was time to move on, and the new brick-faced building in a Western style should be ready for occupancy in about two months.
Some of the old courthouse furnishings will be sold at auction, things like the old metal vault doors for the fireproof record vaults, air conditioning units and perhaps some of the unwanted furniture.
Auditor Lorrie Buzalsky said auction items likely will include items the county officials decide to leave behind when they move into their brand new offices.
She said some initial thought was given to offering the building for removal, but because of several additions added on over the years and the heavy interior vaults, moving turned out to not be a very good option, she added.
The new 12,000-square-foot building will include new offices for the county weed control and veterans’ services, and more meeting room, she said.
“It’s coming along. It’s starting to look like a building,” Buzalsky said.
Project architect Al Fitterer said the successful demolition bidder will have 21 days to remove the old courthouse from a start date based on when the new one is ready for county employees. The old courthouse has to go promptly so the space can be turned into courthouse parking.
He said the new courthouse is coming along very well, minus a few rain-out days.
“They’ve made really good progress in just the last few weeks,” he said.
Fitterer said he appreciates the historical nature of the old courthouse, but said from an architectural perspective, “It’s pretty nondescript.”
Plain Jane it might be, but it was built with tax dollars raised among early-day ranchers in the smallest population county in the state. For years, Amidon was the smallest county seat town in the country.

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