2nd Courthouse (1953-1965)

The 2nd Courthouse
1700 Arapahoe Street

Jefferson County Courthouse - 1996 Photo courtesy Gardner Family Collection

Jefferson County Courthouse – 1996
Photo courtesy Gardner Family Collection

By the middle of the 20th Century Jefferson County had long outgrown its home of seven decades. The Commissioners’ thoughts looked to nearby Pioneer Park as a great new future home. Originally known as City Park, Pioneer Park was Golden’s first public park, a great square of space four blocks in size bounded by Arapahoe, Illinois, 16th and 18th Streets. It was donated to Golden by William A.H. Loveland, on the condition that if the City ceased using it for a park that it revert back to his estate. Therein lay the catch, and after some sizable court proceedings Jefferson County acquired the new home it sought. Golden wasn’t complaining, as the park generally was problematic to keep in optimal condition throughout its existence.

For its new home Jefferson County built a modernist edifice into the hillside, two stories on its western side, three stories on the east, yet each side with a front doorway. It was built of blond brick framing sets of 5 windows housing Jeffco’s courtrooms, Commissioners, and administrative facilities in one place. Inlaid as the main floor was a picturesque map of Jefferson County, and atop the building above each of its entrance ways Jeffco proclaimed its name in bold concrete. In 1957 a new Jail (still in existence, now used by the Colorado School of Mines) rose to the north, while the courts moved ot the new Hall of Justice to the southeast in 1966. This building continued serving as the home of Jeffco’s Commissioners and administration until the county’s 4th Courthouse was built in 1993. Afterwards this place was vacant, purchased by the School of Mines, and destroyed in 1999. Its unique map floor could not be salvaged; however it was photographed in detail before so it could not be lost forever. The cornerstone was also salvaged, and its contents recovered in excellent condition when its copper box was ceremonially opened in 2000.

by Richard Gardner – Gardner History & Preservation

Next: The Hall of Justice