Cascade County Courthouse - Great Falls
Cascade County Courthouse is a three-story English Renaissance Revival structure which was built in 1901-1903. The buildings most noticeable features are the 'giant order' four polished granite columns in the front center of the building and the tall copper dome, raised on columns, which caps the design.
For the first fifteen years that Cascade County was, in fact, a county, all business was conducted in a small group of offices in a downtown building. As the county increased in population and more services were needed, it became evident that a separate building was necessary to accommodate the various offices to serve the public more efficiently. At the general election held November 6, 1900, the question of voting bonds in the sum of $200,000 for the purpose of building a courthouse was submitted to the voters of Cascade County and carried. The work on the superstructure was begun by Lease & Richards on the 9th day of November, 1901. The building was finished by the contractors and turned over to the commissioners on the 4th day of July, 1903. It thus required two years and four months for its construction.
The courthouse is constructed of gray sandstone quarried within six miles of the city in the hills west of the Missouri River. The architecture is French Renaissance with slight modifications. The columns are of solid Tennessee marble and the halls and wainscoting are laid in mosaic tiling.
To the base of the Statue of Justice the courthouse measures 135 feet. The copper portion of the dome is approximately 35 feet and the base is 40 feet. The main building is 60 feet high. The statue is 15 feet high.
With the advent of the automobile and the need for more space, the carriage entrance, that was located under the front steps was converted into a storage area for the building engineers.
During the Second World War, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the dome was used twenty-four hours a day to watch for enemy aircraft.
Throughout the years, and with changing needs, much of the interior has been altered. In an effort to update the interior, much of the original furnishings were sold, and the gold leaf and copper were covered with paint.