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Utah County’s Early Courthouses.

The first session of Utah County’s Court convened in March of 1851 in the log schoolhouse in Fort Provo located at 500 West and 500 North.

This schoolhouse served as the court’s temporary home until 1852 when the structure was moved to a new location on the block north of Pioneer Park at 500 West and Center Street.  It was remodeled into a log meetinghouse and schoolhouse shaped like a Greek cross.  The court met in this building until a Seminary was constructed a block north on the corner of 100 North and 500 West.

Finally, in 1866, Utah County began construction of its first official courthouse located on the west side of 100 West between 100 and 200 North.  Contractors completed this modest one story, brick building in the spring of 1867 at a cost of slightly more than $5,000.  In addition to a courtroom, the building housed Provo’s small library and a jail.

The most sensational trial held in this building occured in January, 1867, when a teenager, Chauncey Millard, was tried for the murder of a freighter on the west side of Utah Lake.  The jury found him guilty, and the judge sentenced him to face the firing squad.  Four hundred curious onlookers attended the public execution, Millard sold his body to a local doctor for a bag of candy.

After only five years, the county built a much larger courthouse on Center Street, and sold the old courthouse to the Provo Woolen Mills for $5,000.  The company used it for a warehouse and office and didn’t raze it until well into the 20th Century.

This is plaque #10 in the Series of Events from Provo’s History and is located in Maeser Park in Provo.

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