Spirited revelry in the streets of Great Falls greeted news of the creation of Cascade County in 1887.
Named county seat, Great Falls grew quickly, with county offices located in various downtown buildings.
In 1891 voters approved the visionary $20,000 purchase of an entire city block for the site of a future courthouse.
Lack of funds and taxable population delayed construction until 1901.
Architects H. N. Black and Frank Longstaff called their courthouse design "pure French Renaissance with slight modifications."
Constructed of grey sandstone quarried nearby, the courthouse was dedicated on July 4, 1903.
Its interior detail reflects the skill of the union craftsmen who fashioned it, while its beautifully landscaped grounds are a silent tribute to Great Falls city founder Paris Gibson, a tireless advocate for trees and parkland.
The architects' plan called for a dome made primarily from stone; instead, it is constructed entirely of copper.
Topped by the Statue of Justice, the dome was used during World War II by lookouts guarding against possible Japanese air attacks.
Today the courthouse continues to serve Cascade County citizens.