Marble Hill, being in the center of Bollinger County, was officially selected as the county seat in the 1850s. This role required the town to house the county’s courthouse. Now people from all over the county traveled to Marble Hill to settle their legal issues, which was still known as Dallas, Missouri. Unfortunately, the Bollinger County Courthouse went through several different transformations during its history.
County officials chose to use what was already available to them instead of spending money on a new building. A two-story brick building, which sat north of the public square, was converted into the county’s new courthouse. However, its days as a home of legal proceedings did not last long. On March 2, 1866, a fire spread through the area, consuming the courthouse. Sadly, the building was completely destroyed.
Ten days later, county officials met to discuss a plan of action. The county needed a courthouse, and they would have to give it one. Philip Sutherlin, the newly appointed county courthouse commissioner, was tasked with hiring a builder. He hired James Rogers, a local man who also served as Marble Hill’s sheriff. Construction began in December and was completed in July 1867. The new courthouse cost the county a total of $3,000.
This second county courthouse lasted longer than the first, yet it did not reach even 20 years of use. In 1884, the building was deemed no longer safe for public use and was abandoned. That March, the courthouse was yet again consumed by fire and reduced to rubble.
By the next year, in 1885, the county had already constructed a new courthouse, and this one was here to stay. Designed by Morris Frederick Bell, the building cost the county $9,000 and was larger than the previous two courthouses. In 1912, the county had some additions constructed to create more space. Since then, the courthouse has remained the same, save some restoration work done in the 1960s and 70s. Today, the building is still in use as the Bollinger County Courthouse.