Because I work in the legal field, I have a special appreciation for the “Houses of Justice” where all the courtroom battles occur.  Several years ago, I decided to embark on a project to photograph each county courthouse in Kansas.   There are 105 counties total, so I had my work cut out for me!

As of fall 2009, I’ve photographed 77 courthouses and have been to many counties I probably wouldn’t have otherwise visited.  To see which courthouses I’ve photographed, visit my web site ( and click on the “Kansas Courthouses” gallery. It has been a great adventure and geography lesson. The most unusual sight I encountered while shooting was that of a carnival set up at the steps of the Ellsworth County Courthouse in Ellsworth in September 2007.  Yep, the old Tilt-o-whirl was right outside the judge’s chambers. So much for courtroom decorum!

Some of Kansas’ courthouses are old, beautiful structures with wonderful architecture and details and have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.  On the other hand, some are –to put it kindly — pretty bland.  But regardless of their physical appearance, they all serve an important function in our communities. Many times the sheriff’s office, jail, treasurer’s office, tag office, etc. are located in the local courthouse, so most of us have benefitted from these everyday services housed in these buildings.

My list of favorites consists mostly of the old, historical courthouses:  Chase Co., Franklin Co., Harper Co., and Atchison Co.  One exception is the new courthouse at Lyon Co.  The curved glass and brick structure is very appealing compared to most “modern” courthouses, and the courtrooms inside are filled with state-of-the-art equipment.

The project has launched an annual event – the release of the Kansas Courthouse Calendar, with 12 different courthouses featured each year.  Check back later this summer to see which courthouses will be featured on the 2011 calendar.

2 Responses to “Kansas Courthouse Project”

  1. I enjoyed looking at your wonderful photographs of the courthouses. I was in Kansas in October and finished visiting all the counties in Kansas. Sadly it was in the midst of much rain. I do have a website that shows older postcards reflecting the various structures that formerly and presently represent the courthouse for each county. It may be of some value. It is found at www. Look forward to your next calendar. Keith Vincent

    1. Thanks for visiting and your kind comments, Keith. Your courthouse postcard collection is quite impressive and I’m sure I’ll visit your site from time to time just to browse around. I see you have several postcards of old Kansas courthouses that were torn down in the name of progress – very cool. It’s important that we have a visual history of what structures used to exist.

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