The Grand Courthouse in Rugby, North Dakota
July 30, 2021
(photos and memories from July, 2021)
The town of Rugby, North Dakota was named for Rugby, Warwickshire, England, and was founded in 1886 as a railroad town along North Dakota’s Great Northern Rail Line. The railroad had financiers from England and so several other towns along the line were also named for English country towns.
Amtrak stops here in Rugby. The line of giant grain elevators along the train tracks is truly impressive. From towns like Rugby, the amber waves of grain are stored and then shipped throughout the world.
Rugby has a population of 2,800 souls — small, but to its credit the town seems larger and more vibrant than what those numbers would indicate. Shops are open all along Main Street.
A few blocks down 2nd Street, the 1910 Pierce County Courthouse is a perfect example of proud and grand engineering. Back in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, the new settlers to the old Dakota territories brought with them a shining optimism and love of country, and the architecture shows it.
On the inside, stairways are made of brown marble and the banisters are brass. Marble slabs line the walls in all the hallways.
The ceiling underneath the cupola features four murals: three of agricultural activities and one of an Indian buffalo hunt.
The courthouse staff gathered some old equipment into displays of the early days of the courthouse.
In the hallway, I found two interesting black and white photos depicting town life in the 1950s. The first is a photo of the 1957 courthouse Christmas party. The second is of a judge’s retirement party in 1950. In both cases the employees carry a very serious demeanor, and clothing was much more formal than today.
One house in Rugby stands out. This house stands on 2nd street in between the coffee shop and the courthouse.
Finally, a monument just outside town denote’s Rugby’s place as the geographic center of North America.
All photos taken by the author on July 1, 2021
A list of all photo posts from the American County Seats series in TimManBlog can be found here.