Beaver County had been created by the Territorial Legislature in 1855. General management of the county was entrusted to the County Court which consisted of a probate judge and three selectmen, who jointly possessed the power of the County Commissions today. In 1876 the 6,000 inhabitants of the county elected to build Beaver County Courthouse to house the Second Judicial District Court of the Territory of Utah.
Because of Indian unrest during the Black Hawk War, the trials of John D. Lee, associated with the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and a general desire on the part of the Federal government to maintain a watchful eye over “Mormons” to the south, both the courthouse, the seat of Federal authority, and Fort Cameron, with Federal troops nearby, played significant roles in the lives of these early Utahns. In fact, William Stokes, a former Union soldier, directed the building of the courthouse. The architect is unknown.
Although begun in 18?6, the courthouse was not completed until 1882, at a cost of $10,960. Fire partially destroyed the structure in 1889, but it was soon rebuilt with many improvements. Later additions to the
rear include a 32′ x 29′ vault and a jail.
The second trail of John D. Lee was held in the Second Judicial District Court In Beaver, U.T. during December 1876, The courthouse, only in early excavation stages at the time, was not the site for these trials.
Nevertheless, this lovely courthouse remains in use today by Beaver County, an emblem of the pretentious construction in public buildings during the Territorial period. It also symbolizes the Federal Government’s attempts to govern and “observe” the Mormons during a period when the practice of Polygamy heightened those conflicts.
Located at 90 East Center Street in Beaver, Utah and added to the National Historic Register (#70000622) on October 6, 1970.
- Beaver Territorial Courthouse (D.U.P. Historic Marker)