Bolivar Missouri Polk County Courthouse

Just three blocks from the North Ward School sits the center of Bolivar as well as the business of Polk County: The Polk County Courthouse. Today, the building serves as the focal point for the city of Bolivar and holds the county courtroom, county offices, and a small history of the county in the basement. Here, the current Missouri Governor escorted prisoners to their trials from the nearby Polk County Correctional Facility, and current Senator Sandy Crawford was selected as Governor Parson’s successor in 2017 after he resigned from his seat in the State Senate. There is deep history in this building and a profound commitment to serving the people and delivering justice.

After William Jamison purchased the land where Bolivar now sits from the federal government in 1835, and the county was established, there was nowhere for justice to be served to those who broke the law. As a result, the first meetings of the county court were held in private homes. In 1837, the court appropriated $125, appx. $5,000 today to construct a permanent home for them, money that was provided by private donors. The building was sold in 1842 after the court had outgrown the small building. A second courthouse was built in the square of Bolivar in 1841 of brick. The building survived the Civil War and was sold in 1905. Through bonds sold by the county in 1905, a permanent courthouse was built for $41,950 by Atlas Construction of St. Louis. The plans for the courthouse, designed by Robert Kirsch, were also used by Adair, Carroll, and Vernon Counties between 1898 and 1906. The cornerstone was laid in 1906, and the building was dedicated in 1907.

The architecture of the building is very much worth seeing in person, as well as its historical significance to Bolivar. It is constructed of stone and concrete. The north front has a projecting portico with a large arch at the entrance on the second story, known as the main entrance to the courthouse. Above the portico is a balcony on the second story with a large arched window and rising to a third-story dormer with a peaked roof. Each corner has a square stone tower with a domed roof. The square tower in the middle of the building has an original clock with a working mechanism, a whistle for noontime blows, and a bronze statue of justice at the top. The building also has a large courtroom as well as a smaller courtroom for the business of the County Circuit Court of the 30th Judicial Circuit. The walls are lined with images of prior commissioners, judges, and other elected officials. The courthouse is a marvel of history but also serves as a stoic reminder of Bolivar’s commitment to justice and continuity of government. It is also home to a memorial honoring those Polk County residents who died in the First World War. The Polk County Courthouse is a landmark worth visiting every time!



102 E Broadway St, Bolivar, MO 65613 ~ Located on the Square. Located near is up the street and three blocks from the First Baptist Church on Main Ave. and North Ward School or Polk County Museum on Locust St. and N. Main Ave.