Saturday, May 24, 2014

Platte County Courthouse, Wheatland Wyoming

Courthouse decorated for Memorial Day, 2014.

This is the Platte County Courthouse located in Platte County's seat, Wheatland Wyoming. The courthouse, in addition to housing the county court for Platte County, also houses one of the four courtrooms of Wyoming's 8th Judicial District, with the others being located in Douglas, Lusk and Torrington. The courthouse was built in 1917, and somewhat uniquely it has a monument dedicated to farmers called "The Irrigator". The Statute of Liberty is a monument for Platte County World War Two servicemen.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Natrona County Townsend Justice Center


This set of photographs is a bit unusual, as you can see the courthouse actually being built, or rather rebuilt.

This is the Townsend Justice Center in Casper, Natrona County, Wyoming. The courthouse houses the state district and circuit courts for the county, those being the courts of the Seventh Judicial District.

This courthouse was the subject of a great deal of controversy. The old Natrona County Courthouse stands across the street, and was much admired by residents of the county. The district court, however, had outgrown the courthouse, and the circuit courts were located in yet another building. There was, therefore, a need to add a courthouse or revise the existing one, particularly after the addition of a third judge. Early efforts proved unpopular with the county's voters, but ultimately the state took the unusual step of funding reconstruction at this structure.

The building itself had been a downtown hotel built in the 1920s, in the golden era of tall hotels. The building had served in this capacity for many years, but entered a slow period of decline in the 1960s. By the late 1970s, the hotel was principally the residence of those down and out on their luck, or of street walkers, but the restaurant remained popular with downtown businessmen. The Petroleum Club, a long time popular club, was attached to it, but was actually in a neighboring building but with access through the Townsend.

After the Petroleum Club moved, the owners of the Townsend finally closed it and it remained vacant for over two decades. When the court needed to move, however, a deal was struck whereby the building was acquired for a nominal fee, and re construction began.

Today, the new and old parts of the building house an ultra modern courthouse, but some of the old signs remain, a written record of its origin as a hotel.

For what it is worth, if you are summoned to jury duty in the District Court for the 7th Judicial District, or the Circuit Court for the 7th Judicial District, this is where you want to go.

The photos added immediately above were taken quite some time after the originals, and were taken while I was waiting for a Circuit Court hearing.  This depicts one of the Circuit Court, courtrooms. The District Court courtrooms are quite a bit bigger.

The courtrooms in this courthouse are quite modern in the District Court, and perhaps when I get he opportunity I'll add a photograph of one. They were designed to be high tech and are.