Visit a historic courthouse that portrays the history of the region.
The Old Courthouse Museum was built as a functioning courthouse in 1889; however, it was not completed until 1893. The local architect, Wallace L. Dow, also designed other buildings in the area, including the South Dakota State Penitentiary and the All Saints School. In the 19th century, the building material commonly used was native Sioux Quartzite stone. This type of stone was also used for the courthouse. The courthouse was the seat of the county government from 1890 to 1962 and is one of the oldest buildings in Sioux Falls. This building eventually became too small for all the administrative business and court, so a new courthouse was built west of the original. Demolition was considered after the new courthouse was built, but many people wanted to save this historic building. By 1974, it was successfully saved and converted into a museum.
There are 3 floors in the building full of regional history exhibits. The 2nd floor has a restored circuit courtroom and law library. Inside the courthouse, you will see slate stairs, granite pillars, stained glass windows, and tiled fireplaces. There are 16 large murals in the hallways painted between 1915 and 1917 by Norwegian immigrant Ole Running. The murals depict early life in Dakota, natural features, and images of the artist's home in Norway. They have a toy museum area, an exhibit with guns and GI Joes, a Native American exhibit, and an interactive theater exhibit. All are welcome to come; it is open daily and free to the public.