A historical look back at the 1952 JoCo Courthouse, which closes for good New Year’s Eve

The building that has housed the Johnson County Courthouse since 1952, 100 N. Kansas Ave. in Olathe, will permanently close on New Year’s Eve. Above, the building being dedicated in October 1952. Photo courtesy Johnson County Museum.

After nearly 70 years in operation, the building that housed the Johnson County Courthouse will permanently close on New Year’s Eve.

Located at 100 N. Kansas Ave. in Olathe, the courthouse was built in 1952. It is the third building to serve the Kansas 10th Judicial District.

About the new building

Beginning Monday, Jan. 4, court offices and courtrooms will operate from the new courthouse but remain closed to in-person contact. All hearings will continue to take place by videoconference until local public health conditions improve, according to a press release.

The new courthouse will accept mail starting December 31 at 150 W. Santa Fe St., Olathe, KS 66061.

Courthouse history

Here are some details of the Johnson County Courthouse history as provided by the Johnson County Museum:

  • Construction began in 1951 on a new $985,000 courthouse (about $9.3 million in 2019 dollars) to meet the needs of Johnson County’s growing suburban population.
  • Johnson County’s second courthouse was dedicated in October 1952.
  • The 1952 building is located just south of the county’s first courthouse (which was built in 1892).
  • Prior to the 1892 building, the Johnson County court system occupied spaces in various buildings.
  • The second courthouse was built by Chambers-Trabell of Kansas City and featured fireproof buff brick and limestone. It was designed in the Art Deco style by Glover & Newcomb of Topeka.
  • The 1952 courthouse was the second largest in the state, after Wyandotte County’s courthouse.
  • It was designed in the Art Deco style by Glover & Newcomb of Topeka and built by Chambers-Trabell of Kansas City.
  • The 1892 courthouse was demolished in 1952 due to safety concerns.
  • The 1952 building was expanded in 1954 and gained a third wing in 1968.
  • An eight-story tower was added to the north end of the second building in 1975; it’s located on the original site of the 1892 building.
  • Despite these expansions to the second courthouse, the structure was deemed inadequate for the county’s estimated population of more than 600,000 residents in 2020.

Here is a small gallery of images of the 1952 courthouse, all courtesy of the Johnson County Museum:

A 1955 postcard of the Johnson County Courthouse. Photo courtesy Johnson County Museum.
A 1952 photograph of the interior of the courthouse. Photo courtesy Johnson County Museum.
Deputies with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office accept a safety award, circa 1953 or 1954. Photo courtesy Johnson County Museum.
An aerial view of the 1952 courthouse, circa 1956. Photo courtesy Johnson County Museum.

 

An image of the courthouse, circa 1971. Photo courtesy Johnson County Museum.
The building that housed the Johnson County Courthouse, 100 N. Kansas Ave. in Olathe, will permanently close on New Year’s Eve.

And below are some images of the original 1892 courthouse, which was demolished after the 1952 courthouse opened, also courtesy Johnson County Museum:

A 1908 postcard of the 1892 courthouse. Image courtesy Johnson County Museum.
A photograph of the Johnson County Courthouse, circa 1910. Photo courtesy Johnson County Museum.
A photograph of the 1892 courthouse, circa 1910s. Photo courtesy Johnson County Museum.