Adair County Historical Society

Tradition says Adair County's first courts met in a schoolhouse two miles south of Kirksville. The first courthouse, which cost $1,000, dates from 1843. It was a low, one-story, brick temporary building, located on a lot across the street from the square. John B. Earhart was the builder, and John D. Callison, a carpenter. Caleb Barnett was superintendent. The first court held there met July 3, 1843.

The Square was reserved for the permanent court-house. The court ordered the first permanent building in February 1852 and initially appropriated $2,200. William H. Parcells was appointed the superintendent and was sent to Knox County, just east of Adair County, to get the plan for its recently completed building at Edina. Adair County then adapted the foursquare design and built it on the public square. On March 8, 1852, the contract was awarded to Galyon and Douglass, who completed the work in 1853. The first floor contained offices: a few additional rooms and the courtroom were on the second floor.

Fire destroyed this courthouse April 12, 1865, and the county remained without a courthouse for 30 years. For many of these years, the public square was known as the "Park." An illustration from the Atlas of 1876 shows a portion of the square filled with a geometric pattern of trees. The third and present Adair County courthouse dates from the turn of the century.
share app
business card
Adair County Historical Society
Blytha Ellis
211 S. Elson
Kirksville, Missouri 63501-4366
Texting: ADAIRHISTORICAL to 72727
Email Us

Business Hours

Contact: +1 660-665-6502

click to call
send message

view displays
area app directory