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Benson County Courthouse

   
History | Links of Interest | 125th Celebration Photos | Benson County Courthouse History
 
Benson County Courthouse     Benson County
1884 - 1900     1900 - present

Size of Benson County: 1393 square miles

2010 Population of Benson County: 6660

Benson County derives its name from B. W. Benson, a member of the Territorial Legislature. Minnewaukan is the county seat of Benson County. "The County Seat for said Benson County is hereby established, and located on Section Fifteen (15) in Township One Hundred Fifty-Three (153) Range Sixty-Seven (67) in said Benson County and Territory of Dakota. Done at the Village and Town of Minnewaukan, in the County of Benson, Territory of Dakota, the fourth (4th) day of June, Eighteen Hundred Eighty-Four". This excerpt was taken from the first recorded meeting of the Board of County Commissioners of Benson County, Dakota Territory, June 4, 1884.

In 1900, the present courthouse was built of brick and stone at a cost of $40,000. Much of the original maple wood inside is still in use, although the building has been updated through the years. The county installed a chair lift at the cost of $30,000 in 1993. A ramp to the front door is another ADA update.

The courthouse has several unique features. The commission room has an ornate fireplace, with glazed brick and a carved mantle. Tin ceiling tile is still in place in much of the courthouse. The original seats in the court room have hat racks under the seats. Paintings and other artwork, including the original blueprints, add warmth to the halls and office walls. It was, until 2002, the only courthouse in the state with a sheriff's residence still in use.

The Benson County Courthouse is a very impressive building being built of reddish brown brick and white stone. It is architecturally significant for its incorporation of the design principles of the Richardsonian Romanesque Style. The building is 60 feet wide, 90 feet long, and 96 feet to the top of the flagstaff.

In 1979, the Benson County Courthouse was named to the National Register of Historic Places, the nation's official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. Resources eligible for the National Register consist of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects significant for their historical, architectural, or acheological value. Once a resource is placed on the National Register, it receives limited protection from damage or destruction resulting from federally financed, assisted or licensed untertakings on the property. The Benson County Courthouse is one of the last major public buildings in North Dakota designed to express the picturesque aesthetic of the 19th Century prior to the onset of Academic Revivalism.

Despite the modifications over the years, the Courthouse retains its original character to a remarkable degree.
The people of Benson County are proud of their BENSON COUNTY COURTHOUSE.

Benson County Courthouse, 311 B Ave. S, Minnewaukan, ND 58351

 


Links of Interest
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North Dakota Association of Counties
NDSU Benson County Extension
 
Press
Benson County Farmers Press  
PO Box 98  
Minnewaukan, ND 58351-0098  
701-473-5436  
Fax: 701-473-5736
farmerspress@gondtc.com
 
Schools
 
Leeds Public School Minnewaukan Public School
530 1st Street Southeast 200 D Avenue
Leeds, ND 58346 Minnewaukan, ND 58351
701-466-2461 701-473-5306
   
Maddock Public School Fort Totten Schools
909 1st Street 7268 North Dakota 57
PO Box 398 Fort Totten, ND 58335
Maddock, ND 58348 Administration Office: 701-766-1400
701-438-2531 Elementary Office: 701-766-1414; Middle School: 766-1484
  High School: 701-766-1476; Alternative Program: 766-1427
   
Oberon Elementary Warwick Public School
PO Box 2 PO Box 7
Oberon, ND 58357 Warwick, ND 58381
701-798-2231 701-294-2561
   
Cities in Benson County (including all original townsites; current incorporated cities designated by *)
Baker Brinsmade* Comstock Esmond*
Fillmore Fort Totten Harlow Hesper
Josephine Knox* Lallie Leeds*
Maddock* Minnewaukan* NIles Oberon*
Pleasant Lake Saint Michael Tokio Warwick*
York*      
 
Tourism/Historical Sites
Totten Trail Historic Inn Spirit Lake Casino
PO Box 224 7889 Highway 57
Fort Totten, ND 58335 St. Michael, ND 58370-9000
701-766-4874 701-766-4747
jmattson@state.nd.us  
 
Buffalo Lake Grahams Island State Park
  152 S. Duncan Road
  Devils Lake, ND 58301
  701-766-4015
  disp@nd.gov
   
Sully's Hill Calvary Square
  Fort Totten Calvary Square
   
Olympic Ski Jump Palmer's Spring
   
Devils Heart Butte  
Devil's Heart Butte is a mountain summit in Benson County in the state of North Dakota(ND). Devils Heart Butte climbs to 1,657 feet(505.05 meters) above sea level. Devils Heart Butte is located at latitude - longitude coordinates of N 47.933888 and W -98.857337 approximately 2 miles from Wood Lake in Benson County.
   
125th County Celebration
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Benson County 125th     125 Benson County
Benson County     Parade
Celebration     Benson County Parade
Benson County 125 Celebration     Benson County 125 Parade


Benson County Courthouse
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Benson County Courthouse

Benson County Courthouse was built on block 69 of Minnewaukan City in 1900. W. G. Russell from Grand Forks, ND was the architect employing the design principles of the Richardsonian Romanesque Style. On May 21, 1900, the Benson County Commissioners accepted the bid of $30,000 from D. H. Lord, Building Contractor. Building was to be completed by December 31, 1900. The building is 60' wide, 90' long, and stands 96' tall to the top of the flagstaff. John Lysne, assisted by Henning Lysne, was the Stone Mason for the large stones in the pillars and trim. Diebold Safe & Lock Co. of St. Paul, MN delivered six vault doors, each weighing 1,000 lbs.

Benson County Auditors
1884 to 1997
    J. M. Cubbison (Co Clerk) 1884 - 1885 G. D. Gilbertson 1919 - 1935
    L. M. Harriman 1885 - 1887 Bert Salisbury 1935 - 1941
    J. M. Cubbison 1887 - 1891 Ed Rolle 1941 - 1943
    J. Drummond 1891 - 1900 Harry Montague 1943 - 1975
    A. A. Liudahl 1900 - 1903 Vernon Lysne 1975 - 1981
    J. W. Olson 1903 - 1911 Fay Huffman 1981 - 1997
    W. E. Paulson 1911 - 1919    
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Benson County Clerk of Court
Elected Position
    Lana K. Johnson 1980 - 1989    
 
Benson County Clerk of District Court
    Lana K. Johnson 1989 - present    
 
Benson County Commissioners
Thomas J Larison 1956 John Peterson
Mortimer D Hint   Murphy Christensen
Edward Yeager   A. C. Berg
James W Farrier   Ernest Toso
David Hanshwan   Olgar Hanson
James Michels 1957 John A. Stenberg - appointed
Vernon B Matthews 1958 John A. Stenberg
Irving Church   Jorgen Jorgenson
Massrs 1958 A. C. Berg
H. U. Thmas   Ernest Toso
H. B. Pederson   Olgar Hanson
William M Anderson 1960 John A. Stenberg
Duncan   Jorgen Jorgenson
C. L. Lindstrom   A. C. Berg
Thorvold Thorgeson   Ernest Toso
S. H. Burrows   Archie Borstad
William G. Riggen 1962 Jorgen Jorgenson
Thos. Cascaden   A. C. Berg
David Denoyer   Ernest Toso
Michael Maddock   Archie Borstad
A. J. Kirkeide   Leo Johnston
S. B. Spencer 1964 Jorgen Jorgenson
J. M. Hofstrand   A. C. Berg
J. N. Burke   Ernest Toso
M. K. Mehus   Leo Johnston
M. A. Wisness   Carroll Anderson
James Kane 1966 Jorgen Jorgenson
L. M. A. Foss   A. C. Berg
Peter Stadum   Ernest Toso
Aug Bolinski   Leo Johnston
S. J. Mears   Carroll Anderson
Gunder Legreid 1968 Jorgen Jorgenson
C. L. Peterson   A. C. Berg
W. H. Brown   Ernest Toso
Gunder Legreid   Leo Johnston
C. L. Peterson   Carroll Anderson
S. J. Mears 1970 Arnold Greene
L. M. A. Foss   Harold Michels
S. S. Kinnikaberg   Jorgen Jorgenson
R. S. Montague   Ernest Toso
M. K. Nybo 1970 Carroll Anderson
Carl H. Goranson 1972 Arnold Greene
S. S. Kinnkaberg   Harold Michels
R. S. Montague   Claire Paulson
M. K. Nybo   Carroll Anderson
C. L. Peterson   Ernest Toso
Carl H. Goranson 1974 Arnold Greene
S. S. Kinnkaberg   Harold Michels
R. S. Montague   Claire Paulson
M. K. Nybo   Carroll Anderson
David Brown   Ernest Toso
Even Lamen 1976 Harold Michels
R. S. Montague   Claire Paulson
George Forner   Carroll Anderson
David Brown   Waldo Tollefson
Carl H. Goranson   Phil Eberle
Even Lamen 1978 Claire Paulson
R. S. Montague   Gordon Twedt
George Forner   Phil Eberle
Hunter   Waldo Tollefson
Carl H. Goranson   Carroll Anderson
Gust Tweten 1980 Bennie Thompson
I. O. Iverson   Benno Lauinger
Even Lamen   Claire Paulson
George Forner   Gordon Twedt
R. S. Montague   Carroll Anderson
George Forner 1982 Leo Kraft
John J. Kirkeide   Tilford Fossen
Even Lamen   Claire Paulson
I. O. Iverson   Benno Lauinger
Gust Tweten   Bennie Thompson
George Forner 1984 Leo Kraft
John J. Kirkeide   Tilford Fossen
Even Lamen   Claire Paulson
I. O. Iverson   Benno Lauinger
Gust Tweten   Bennie Thompson
I. O. Iverson 1986 David Nelson
Gust Tweten   Tilford Fossen
K. B. Sandven   Leo Kraft
John J. Kirkeide   Benno Lauinger
A. C. Sundet   Bennie Thompson
K. B. Sandven 1987 Erling Karlsbraaten - appointed
John J. Kirkeide 1988 Erling Karlsbraaten
A. C. Sundet   Roland Lysne
C. D. Graves   Priscilla Cavanaugh
Nels Baustad   Leo Kraft
C. D. Graves   David Nelson
Nels Baustad 1990 Curtis Hvinden
K. B. Sandven   Barry Cox
John J. Kirkeide   Oscar Erie
Nels N. Oksendahl   Priscilla Cavanaugh
C. D. Graves   Erling Karlsbraaten
Nels Baustad 1992 Harold Michels
K. B. Sandven   Erling Karlsbraaten
John J. Kirkeide   Curtis Hvinden
Nels N. Oksendahl   Barry Cox
C. D. Graves   Oscar Erie
Nels Baustad 1994 Harold Michels
K. B. Sandven   Erling Karlsbraaten
Nels N. Oksendahl   Curtis Hvinden
P. E. Pederson   Barry Cox
Nels Baustad   Oscar Erie
K. B. Sandven 1996 John Grann
Nels N. Oksendahl   Erling Karlsbraaten
P. E. Peterson   Curtis Hvinden
C. H. Gorenson   Barry Cox
George A. Jacobson   Oscar Erie
Leslie C. Hofstrand 1998 John Grann
Leo Nelson   Erling Karlsbraaten
Nels Baustad   Curtis Hvinden
Nels N. Oksendahl   Barry Cox
George A. Jacobson   Edward Ripplinger
Leslie C. Hofstrand 2000 John Grann
Leo Nelson   Erling Karlsbraaten
Nels Baustad   Curtis Hvinden
Nels N. Oksendahl   Barry Cox
George A. Jacobson   Edward Ripplinger
Leslie C. Hofstrand 2002 Dwain Brown
Nels Baustad   Barry Cox
Murphy Christensen   Curtis Hvinden
A. C. Berg   Erling Karlsbraaten
Alfin Kinden 2004 Dwain Brown
Elmer Tufte   Barry Cox
Murphy Christensen   Curtis Hvinden
A. C. Berg   Erling Karlsbraaten
George A. Jacobson 2006 Dwain Brown
John Peterson   Barry Cox
Murphy Christensen   Curtis Hvinden
A. C. Berg   Erling Karlsbraaten
Alfin Kinden 2008 David Davidson
Elmer Tufte   Lowell Haagenson
John Peterson   Curtis Hvinden
Murphy Christensen   Jason Lee
A. C. Berg   Michael Steffan
Robert Wood 2010 David Davidson
Ernest Toso   Lowell Haagenson
John Peterson   Curtis Hvinden
Murphy Christensen   Jason Lee
A. C. Berg   Michael Steffan
Robert Wood    
Ernest Toso    
     
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Benson County Court Judges
County Judges were an elected position.
    H. U. Thomas 1892 - 1896 Howard Olson 1964 - 1968
    Edward Isaacs 1986 - 1904 Bert Salisbury 1968 - 1968
    Alfred Dresser 1904 - 1909 Ted Weisenburger 1968 - 1975
    M. A. Liles 1909 - 1915 Joel D. Medd 1975 - 1979
    O. D. Comstock 1915 - 1941 Ann C. Mahoney 1979 - 1981
    Bert Salisbury 1941 - 1963 Michael N. Steffan 1981 - 1983
    B. F. Whipple 1963 - 1964 James M. Bekken 1983 - 1995

County Judgeships terminated in 1995 and became State/District Court Judges.

 

 
Benson County District Court Judges
    David Morgan
(Supreme Court 1900 - 1911)
1889 - 1900 Obert C. Tiegen
(Supreme Court 1959)
1954 - 1959
    John F. Cown 1900 - 1912 Douglas B. Heen 1959 - 1986
    C. W. Buttz 1912 - 1948 Lee A. Christofferson 1986 - present
    John J. Kehoe 1948 - 1954 Donovan Foughty 1995 - present
 

Benson County Nurse

Shelley Aabrekke

 

Benson County Road Superintendent

Lester Ellingson, Jr.

 

Benson County Sheriffs
Elected Position
    William H. Beach (appointed) 1884 Walter Palmer 1930 - 1933
    Fred Snore 1885 - 1888 M. A. Erickson 1934 - 1937
    Thomas M. McDonald 1889 Art Crane 1938 - 1941
    J. C. O'Connell 1890 Walter Palmer 1942 - 1945
    Thomas M. McDonald 1892 - 1896 Paul Sundell 1946 - 1949
    William C. Schaffner 1897 - 1899 Walter (Red) Crane 1950 - 1953
    E. L. Baeverstad 1900 - 1903 Don E. Seibert 1954 - 1957
    John S. Aker 1904 - 1908 Richard Salisbury 1958 - 1965
    D. G. Talley 1909 - 1913 Gordon Burdick 1966 - 1973
    John F. Randall 1914 - 1917 Oscar Hanson 1974 - 1977
    D. O. Tollerud 1918 - 1921 Jerry Lysne 1978 - 1979
    John F. Randall 1922 - 1925 Ned J. Mitzel 1979 - 2006
    M. A. Erickson 1926 - 1929 Steve J. Rohrer 2006 - present
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Benson County State's Attorney
Elected Position
    E. Bergland   M. C. Hiaasen  
    O. E. Comstock   Joseph Dietchman  
    C. L. Lindstrom   Michael Steffan  
    Walter G. McDonald   James P. Wang  
    L. L. Butterwick      
 
Benson County Superintendent of Schools
Elected position until 1993 when it became a position appointed by the County Commissioners
    1885 Robert McAdam 1926 Hilda Wisness
    1890 M. F. Mineham 1932 D. G. Aanestad
    1891 H. R. Shellengerger 1939 Oscar Solberg
    1897 Torger Sinness 1942 J. D. Tollerud
    1903 N. T. Teigen 1945 Alice Thompson
    1909 Effie D. Hoadley 1981 Jean K. Olson
    1913 Peter Anderson 2011 Lucia Jacobson
    1920 Adeline Engelhorn Ellefson    
 
Benson County Tax Equalization Directors
This position is appointed by the County Commissioners
    Lloyd Carlson 1971 - 1972 Ellen Huffman 1994 - 2011
    Hazel O'Connell 1972 - 1974 Randy Thompson 2011-present
    Dorothy Johnson 1974 - 1994    
Benson County Treasurers
1885 to 1997
County Treasurers were elected at the November Election and took office in May of the following year.
    F. M. Shook 1885 - 1889 Ed Rolle 1939 - 1940
    Carl G. Brown 1889 - 1895 C. D. Graves Jan 1941 - April
    Albert A. Liudahl 1895 - 1899 Ed Richmond May 1941 - Mar 1942
    E. L. Yager 1899 - 1903 W. D. Conway Apr 1943 - 1947
    C. E. Baker 1903 - 1907 Lena Wigdahl 1947 - 1951
    E. H. Cowell 1907 - 1911 W. D. Conway 1951 - 1955
    Nils Dokken 1911 - 1914 Carl Hansen 1955 - 1983
    W. H. Brown (appointed) Jan 1915 - May 1915 Robert J. Wallace 1983 - 1991
    O. P. Rognlie 1915 - 1919 Leola Rangen 1991- 1996
    W. D. Conway 1919 - 1927 Maxine Lysne 1996 - 1997
 
In 1997 the County Auditor and Treasurer offices were combined.
    Fay Huffman 1997 - 2003 Bonnie Erickson 2003 - present
 

Benson County Register of Deeds/Benson County Recorder

J. M. Cubbison 1884 S.S. Rodning 1921-1924
Loren W. Harriman 1885 C.B. Willsey 1925-1928
J. M. Cubbison 1886-1895 S.S. Rodning 1929-1932
H.A. Jones 1887-1900 L.M. Harwood 1933-1948
George Dickinson 1900-1906 Gordon Johnson 1949-1974
C.E. Baker 1907-1908 Richard Foss 1975-1986
A. O. Skarsten 1909-1912 Doris E. Randle 1987-2001 (Recorder 2001-2008)
James L. Mahany 1913-1920 Rhoda Pfeifer 2008-present

 

Benson County Veterans Service Officer

One of the many responsibilities of the County Veterans Service Officer is to assist veterans in working through the numerous forms required by the Veterans Administration. Completion of the forms is necessary before a veteran can receive services through the VA. Some of the benefits which can be applied are education, burial, and health benefits. Discharge papers are required for any veteran applying for benefits; these papers can be located by the county VSO.

Bert M. Salisbury 1945-1960 David Nelson 1993-1996
John Butternick 1950-1952 Wayne Stautz 1997-2004
Walter Lien 1951-1952 Jo Dahlen 2004-2008
Gordon Johnson 1960-1974 David Daeley 2009-present
Melvin Severson 1975-1986    
Curtis Luidahl 1986-1989    
Donald Severson 1989-1993    
 
 
 
NDSU Benson County Extension Service
Appointed Positions
Benson County Agents
Harry Boyts 1915 - 1928 Roger Martin 1959 - 1960
Irving Courtis 1922 - 1928 Howard Lahlum 1960 - 1967
Herbert W. Herbison 1928 - 1939 James Martin, Assistant 1960 - 1962
Lars A. Jensen 1934 - 1934 Norman Bakkegard, Assistant 1962 - 1964
Thomas G. Fuller 1934 - 1936 John Oster, Assistant 1965 - 1966
Ruther Moser, Associate 1937 - 1941 Harvey Peterson, Assistant 1967 - 1970
Gilbert Moum 1939 - 1943 Hilbert Pfiefer, Jr 1967 - 1969
Fristad, Etna, Associate 1940 - 1943 Warren W. Anderson, Assistant 1968 - 1969
Bernard Maddock 1943 - 1948 Larry J. Halvorson, Assistant 1969 - 1971
Milson, Ball, Temp Assistant 1947 - 1947 Dennis Egge 1969 - 1975
Harold Odegaard 1949 - 1954 Robert Bina 1975 - 1976
Marvin Nordbo, At Large 1952 - 1952 Martin Stanley 1976 - 1978
Vernon Sturlaugson 1954 - 1958 Daniel Vollmer 1978 - 1980
Wilfred Johnson, At Large 1956 - 1956 Kim Retzlaff 1980 - 1983
(no name), Assistant 1956 - 1956 Mike Hanson 1983 - 1986
Orland Neimeier, Assistant 1957 - 1959 Mike Liane 1986 - 1992
Jim Kenward 1959 - 1960 Scott Knoke 1992 - present
 
Benson County Home Economists
Joan Michalski 1950 - 1954 Colleen Boerner 1996
Esther Lutz 1954 - 1954 Jennifer Steinhaus 2001
No Name 1954 - 1955 Stacey Heggen 2009 - 2011
Beth Johnson 1982 - 1985 Amy Bjorem 2011- 2012
June M. Strand 1985 - 1989 Kimberly Braulick 2012 - present
Brenda Langerud 1989 - 1996    
   
 
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