Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I see the contents of the 100-year-old “time capsule” pulled from the cornerstone?
The contents were pristinely preserved and will be displayed in the rotunda during the celebration week. They will then be permanently displayed in either the rotunda or the Sioux City Museum.

The building was ready for occupancy in March 1918, so why are the celebrations in May?
Because this is Iowa, where random blizzards pride themselves in ruining get-togethers in March.

The first-floor boardroom is much nicer than the basement. Why did the board of supervisors move their weekly meetings downstairs? I mean, the morgue used to be down there.
The first-floor boardroom seats no more than 20 people and is not handicap-accessible. Before the switch, some attendees simply couldn’t find a place to sit. Weekly board meetings draw anywhere from 0-70 concerned citizens.

Was the public of 100 years ago as excited as we are about the bold yet intricate craftsmanship of our courthouse?
Not so much. The Bar Association thought the courtrooms were too big. And a businessman’s advisory committee at the time said, “We are firmly convinced that the citizens of Woodbury County prefer a courthouse of ordinary and usual design.” Most saw it as a radical architectural experiment at best, and a foolish waste of money at worst.

Waste of money? How much did it cost?
Our courthouse was completed in under two years at a cost of about $850,000 (~$20 million today.) Recent expert assessments place the current value between $60-100 million.

What sort of restoration efforts are needed to enjoy our courthouse for another 100 years?
Since the courthouse’s 75th Anniversary, millions of dollars have been spent on its preservation. These dollars have come from federal, state, and local grants, Local Option Sales Tax, non-tax Hard Rock gaming revenues, private donations, and as a last resort, property taxes, and bonds. A recent needs assessment was conducted to determine a schedule for long-term structural repairs. However, the same experts noted none of those repairs are immediately necessary, and further noted that the wear and tear over 100 years was much less than expected due to its superior construction.

That’s bad news. Do you have any good news?
Yes! In recent years, Woodbury County has worked closely with Baker Group to complete long-term infrastructure planning and energy improvements to save millions of dollars over the next few decades. In fact, we became the first all-LED-lit county in Iowa and even received a national award for it.

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