Del Norte Historical Tour

#53. Rio Grande County Courthouse


This is the site of the original courthouse that was constructed in 1884.  A building on Pine Street was used as both courthouse and town hall.  Various offices in the downtown district were also used until the courthouse was built.  The cornerstone was laid on August 16, 1884, with ceremonies conducted by the Masons.  A proclamation by Mayor John Cleghorn had all businesses close for the occasion.

By 1939, the need for a new courthouse was evident.  The Del Norte Prospector reported on April 21, 1939, that construction had started with a force of almost 100 men digging the foundation, and that native stone would be used in the building.  Construction was to begin on the south and west wings, with the L-shaped building encircling the courthouse.  It was going to be “modern” in every aspect.  A new jail was also being included in the courthouse building.

On February 14, 1942, 65 percent of the new building was completed and the offices were moved.  The old courthouse was razed.  Work stopped because of World War II, with work starting again in 1949.  Formal cornerstone ceremonies were held in April of 1954, with formal dedication ceremonies on May 1, 1954.

The Sheriff’s office and jail were moved to a new building to the south of the courthouse in 1974

Turn left on 6th Street.