Courthouse History

The four paintings on the ceiling in the rotunda of the Traill County Courthouse are an unusual and beautiful sight. The four large panels depict four different scenes from around Traill County.

The paintings in the courthouse were done under contract for $2,750 by the William G. Andrews Decorating Company of Clinton, Iowa. The paintings are unsigned and the artist's name has been forgotten.

In the early 1950s the Traill County Commission was faced with a decision to either clean and restore the courthouse paintings or paint over them. It was decided that restoration would be too expensive and a dark, deep green paint went on, covering almost all of the decorative work on the first and second floors of the courthouse. It is told that when the scaffolding went up in the rotunda, Gerhard Olson, the county auditor at that time, went into the hall and asked the painters what they were going to do. They said they were going to paint from the dome down. “Oh no you’re not,” said Olson. “Those paintings are original Traill County scenes, and they’re to be preserved.” So instead of being destroyed forever, the paintings received a coat of preservative and still can be enjoyed today.

  • Hillsboro Park
    Hillsboro Park

    The Hillsboro Park scene is from just above the present dam across the Goose River, where the river skirts the railroad track off old Highway 81.

  • Island Park
    Island Park

    In the scene from Island Park in Mayville, the old foot bridge, long since replaced,can be seen across the water in the background.

  • Horse-drawn Wagon
    Horse-drawn Wagon

    The scene with the horse-drawn bundle wagons is from the Bonanza Grandin Farm No. 8 southeast of Hillsboro.

  • Bonanza Farm
    Bonanza Farm

    The Bonanza Farm north of Mayville shows a harvest scene using a threshing machine.

  • Stained Glass Window
    Stained Glass Window

    Stained glass window at the front of the Courthouse.The window includes the year 1907 which was the year the Courthouse wasdedicated. Writing on the window states “Liberty and Union Now andForever One and Inseparable.”