Dallas Historian

Polk County Court House

Polk County Courthouse with fountain

The first permanent court house was a two story 30 x 24 foot wood building  located on the north side of LaCreole in a community first named Cynthia Ann or Cynthian, named after the Kentucky hometown of Mrs.Thomas J. Lovelady. It was located near the intersection of Ellendale and Main in north Dallas and was completed in 1851. Water started to run out so the town started to move to the south side of the LaCreole, the courthouse was torn down and the wood was reused to build some new businesses on the south side.

As a village on the south side of the LaCreole River, now known as the Rickreall Creek, began to grow in size, Cynthia Ann lost its inhabitants to the new community and a new county courthouse was needed. In 1856, John E. Lyle, Isaac Levens, Solomon Shelton and others sought a charter for LaCreole Academy. They funded the project by selling lots in the original town of Dallas as the plat stated. One block was set aside as a courthouse square. This second courthouse (above) was built in 1859. It was a two-story wood structure of classical design, which was not appreciated by some of the townfolk. The second courthouse burned down in 1898, most likely arson because the town's only typwriter was taken out of the courthouse that night and the townfolk had not learned to like the design.

Cynthia Ann was renamed Dallas, after James K. Polk's vice president in 1852. 

The third courthouse (the one we have today) was built on the same site out of local limestone. ($30,782) The quarry where the stone came from was located a little way up Oakdale, approximately 3 miles away, owned by Joseph Card Sr. It was purchased from W C Brown in 1895 and Joe Card Sr. owned it till 1911, when it was sold to Oregon Portland Cement after the Courthouse and other structures were built in Polk and Marion counties. 

Jennings Lodge masons laid the cornerstone on September 30, 1898 and the court house was finished June 1900. A fossil attesting to the stone’s origin is on the northeast side between the old and new buildings. Architect Delos D. Neer of Portland designed the courthouse. His name is on the cornerstone on the north side of the building. This 1899 building remains the second-oldest courthouse still in use in Oregon.