Area Guide to Paris, Missouri, USA

Home Up Monroe County Museum Missouri State Seal

County Offices
Health Dept.
Home Health Agency
Outreach & Extension
Monroe County Fair
Historical Society
Monroe Co. Geneology

Monroe County Courthouse

Photos     Rotunda Paintings
History & Architecture     Courthouse Sketch

The Monroe County Courthouse is also listed
on the Paris City Sights Page.

Public Restrooms are available in the Monroe County Courthouse
Monday - Friday   8:00am to 4:30pm
Saturday 9:00am to Noon
(during Farmers' Market Season)

Monroe County Courthouse Photos

Monroe County Courthouse Rotunda Paintings
by Doris Hill


Wilderness showing trading between white man and Indians

Indian Village

Sod house - first home of the settlers

Log cabin scenes

Hermit found in a wooded area east of Paris living on red haws (1818)

Prairie fire in which two people died (1822)


Life centered around rivers

First mill (Hickman Mill 1828)

Building of churches (1829)

Mark Twain born (1835)

Covered Bridge (1856 - 1857)

Glenn House (scene of Civil War battle 1862)

Second Courthouse (1867)

First train - four miles long (1824)

Old time religious camp meetings


Living took on more elegance

Machinery was being developed

Country Store (1831 - 1834)

Main Street as it looked in 1900

Room showing styles of early 1900's


Threshing Machine



Soldiers leaving for World War I (1917)


Depression showing the drought of the 1930's

Banks closing (1932)

C.C.C. (1933)

W.P.A. (1935)

Present day courthouse (1912)

Old hotel

Old grade school (1870)

Present grade school building (1907)

Due to fire of 1934 addition to school built (1935 - 1936)

Integration of schools (1955)

Boys leaving for wars of the last fifty years

Atomic bomb shown on television (1945)

Monroe Manor (1973)

Modern farming and elevators

Monroe County Courthouse History & Architecture

Present building is 3rd Courthouse at this site in Monroe County.


Monroe County, organized in 1831 from the western part of Ralls county, selected Paris as county seat.  The residents in this part of the country felt they were too far from the Ralls County Seat, New London.


First courthouse built in 1831-35 on $100 plot of land.  $3,000 + $1,000 for a jail was appropriated.  It was a 50-foot square two-story brick building, with white stone foundation and hipped roof in center of square.  An 8-foot, shuttered, octagonal cupola was supported by a 10-foot-square base.  Its roof was covered with tin.  A brass ball, fish and Franklin rod adorned the top.  Builders were Pavey and Orr.  Three sides had doors with fanlights, flanked by a pair of windows.  First floor was laid with brick up to the bar in the courtroom.  The wood bar was raised 4 feet.  Second floor was not finished when first built.  The building may have been enlarged to 50 by 80 feet.  This courthouse burned in December 1861 destroying many county records.


Second courthouse built in 1867-69 by Burton Edwards of Macon for $37,452.  It was a 60 by 102  foot brick domed structure containing 9 rooms, 2 vaults, Circuit & County Court rooms, and other offices.  This building was razed in 1912.


Monroe Countians voted three times before passing a bond issue in 1911 for construction of present courthouse in 1912.  Dedicated in 1913.

Architects were Rose & Peterson of Kansas City.  All construction done with hand labor by Henning Construction for $83,450.  Total cost about $100,000.

Outside dimensions 110 feet north/south by 80 feet east/west.

Large granitoid dome of terra cotta tile supports a flagpole and contains areas for clock faces.  Last domed courthouse built in Missouri.

Outside walls built of Missouri white bedford  limestone with four arcades, one to the side, each supported by two large granite pillars.

On the shorter side columns support a pediment above a rusticated basement floor entrance.

Non-combustible wall frame construction covered with thick cement plastering.  All floors are concrete.

Elevator shaft originally constructed but sealed, thought to be too modern & an unnecessary expense.  Elevator added in 1990 at a cost of over $30,000.

Wainscoting and window sills are of gray marble, broad stairways and railings are steel, woodwork and massive entry doors are oak.  All entrances and corridor floors are tile.  Decorative moulding throughout is the egg & dart design and scroll & leaf.  Originally over 700 light  fixtures installed.  Decorative brackets into corridors on each floor are of scroll & leaf design.

Principal ground-level entrance on the west side with a slightly projecting pavilion, recessed columns and a parapet above.

Corridor (lobby) leading from front entrance to the rotunda has complete list of Monroe County veterans serving in World War I and World War II.  A star by the name marks those who gave their lives in these conflicts.  A John Fitzgerald Kennedy Memorial plaque contains his famous inaugural address quotation: "My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."  Glass display cases featuring articles from the Monroe County Historical museum.

Soft light filters down through the stained glass in the dome (stained glass supposedly sealed over with tiled false ceiling).

Rotunda contains the Great Seal of Missouri worked into the tile floor and 4 murals depicting life in the first 200 years (1776 to 1976) of this area painted by Doris Hill in 1976 and presented to the county by the county extension clubs.

Monroe County Historical Society has many items on display in its Historical Museum located on the first floor including relics of early days and paintings by Gordon Snidow, notable Cowboy artist, born in Paris.  Admission is free.

1st & 2nd floors contain county offices.

3rd floor Circuit Court remodeled in 1980-87 for $21,096.

Last story, 4th floor, is of noiseless wood pulp, houses the jail and storage attic.

Dirt-floor basement never finished except for steam furnace room.

Built without central air conditioning.  Each office has own unit.


Marker to the founder of Paris stands in the west front yard.  Dedicated in 1931 when the county observed its 100th anniversary.  Erected in memory of Ezra Fox, first white settler in Monroe County, born in Virginia in 1773, moved to Monroe County in 1819, died at Middle Grove in 1853; and to his son Josephus Fox, founder of Paris.

Veterans Memorial on the northwest courthouse lawn was dedicated in 1991.

Old Paris City fire bell placed on northwest lawn in 2002.

Monroe County Courthouse Sketch

Click for printable image:
10"x 7" for 8" x 11" size (320kb)

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Revised  Monday, October 16, 2006    Visitor Hit Counter