Trenton was established by the Lincoln Land Company, the original town site filed with the county records on 14 Dec. 1885. A survey showed that this town was nearer the center of the county so the people of Trenton and the west end of the county began agitation to change the county seat from Culbertson to Trenton. Three elections were held between 1891 and 1894. On 16 Nov. 1887, on election day, one of the worst blizzards hit the area. Trenton finally won the election and the county seat was moved.
The story of moving the county seat is a long, bitter story. On the night of 1 Oct. 1893, men from Trenton, after securing an order from District Judge D.T. Uelty, drove to Culbertson with lumber wagons, took possession of the county records and moved them to Trenton.
The first courthouse in Trenton was the Armitage building, now being used by Hitchcock County Museum. It served as the courthouse until a brick, two story building was erected in 1906. This building was replaced in 1969.
Courthouse Removal-the whole town turned out to bring the records from Culbertson after an election was held to make Trenton the county seat. The date of the removal was 1 Oct, 1893, and this large group went after the records, including the Trenton Town Band. Ned A. Davis has tentatively identified them for us. Driving the wagons used to haul the records from the Hitchcock County Courthouse, then located at Culbetson, are: Grant Holston, Sam Lawrence, Art Holston, Taylor Coffelt, Sam McPherson, John Wills, Charlie Holston, Sam Gull, Mike Carmody, Frank Morris and Sol Day. N.T. Jones, County Sheriff, and Frank Coffelt, Trenton Marshall. Amos Elliot, Dexter, Russell, Elija Bosserman, Trenton Band: Joe Hassler, O.W. DeWald, Gus VanVraucken, Dr. Thomas, Lon VanVraucken, Charley Seeley, Charles Bush, Herb Pember. Others not in the band were: T.J. Floyd, Seeley, O.E. Reynolds, Jack Ball, Wallace Thompson, Al Honey, Charlie Bosserman, Henry Bosserman and Dad Statler.
The rest as Mr. Davis remembers them: Fred Flansbury, Robert Bush, Billy Crow, Frank Morse, Frank Freeman, Bill Coon, Ned Davis, Tow Ryan, Bill Otis, Ralph Otis, August Hanel, T.H. Britton, Will Britton, Jessie Britton, Billy Sullivan, Jim Kern, Ed Kern, J.M. Lyon, Dave Boyd, R.J. Boyd, Bill Felker, L.L. Burney, C.W. McCone, Bill Filbert, Joe Filbert, Warren Wolfenden, George Benjamin, Marion Bundy, Ed Bundy, W.H. Thornhill, Mike Baker, Nick Baker, Frank Baker, Henry Grovert, August Grovert, John Grovert, Henry Seaman, Jack Hurst, Ole Wilson, Bud Lyon, Jim Lyon, Sam Lyon, Mack Campbell, Sr., Erv Campbell, Rush Campbell, Sr., Eph Stoler, Tom McCoy, A.W. McCoy, George Smith, Frank Harcourt, Gus Korf, Billy Maple, Frank Johnson, John Frey, John Stalter, Will Stalter, Peter Haegan, Frank Haegan, Charlie Allen, Evan Jones, George Hannah, Fred Hannah, Ab Ball, Dave Dame, Charlie Wood, Clem Kline, Howard Kline, Mose Bass, Dell VansykeDan Waite, Charlie Peck, Jack Graham, Jack Churchfield, Wayne Suiter, Robert Sydow, Frank McConnell, Mac McConnell, Alec Campbell, N.T. Hall, A.E. Reynolds, A.E. VanVraucken, J.M. Little, John Little, T.D. Morgan, Charlie Miller, Conrad Leuch, Dave Leopold, Bibb Cobb and John Payton.
OLD COURTHOUSE BURNED (HCN, Friday 25, September 1903)
The old courthouse at this place burned to the ground Monday night about ten o'clock. Over 25 persons, mostly girls, had been practicing a play there in the evening. The girls had just left and the three men were preparing to go when the large lamp which overhung the stage exploded and sent burning oil in every direction. Rev. Snyder, who was right under the lamp, was sprinkled with burning oil and his clothes were set on fire. Seizing a pile of curtains he wrapped them around himself and succeeded in smothering the flames. When the lamp exploded it sent burning oil thru the ceiling where the plaster was off, the flames catching the lath and bird's nests. Had the ceiling been plastered, the building would have been saved, as the men succeeded in putting out the fires in the room. As it was, nothing could be done to save the building and it soon burned down. Had the lamp exploded five minutes earlier, when all the girls were on the stage, a frightful tragedy would have r4sulted. The courthouse was built in the fall of '86. There was no insurance.
NEW HITCHCOCK COUNTY COURTHOUSE
The new Hitchcock County Courthouse was built in 1968 and 1969. The officers moved into this new structure on 23 July 1969. The cornerstone laying ceremony was held on 5 Aug. 1968 after breaking the ground on June 1.
The new building was built directly to the north of the old courthouse which served the county since 1906. The old building was quickly demolished after the offices were moved out and the grounds were leveled and landscaped. An underground sprinkler system was installed in the early fall of 1969 to take care of the spacious lawn.
Hitchcock County's Courthouse is built of concrete block, steel reinforced, with a bluff colored brick veneer. Large vaults were constructed to permit them to be used as work areas as well as record file rooms. The entire building is climate controlled with individual thermostats and humidity control. Interior walls are of dry wall, painted with vinyl panels covering the hallway walls. The building is fully carpeted.
Overall dimensions of the courthouse are 94x168 feet, one story, containing 15,792 square feet of floor area. The building is fireproof, including the jail, with smoke detection and sprinkler system in case of fire.
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© 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 by Brenda Lawless Daniel