In 1882, John Loucks came to the area that would be the city of Sheridan. He had a vision for a town at the confluence of Big Goose Creek and Little Goose Creek. Local legend says he sat on the hill at the modern intersection of Main and Coffeen and drew his vision on a piece of brown wrapping paper. The Sheridan County Courthouse sits on that hill today at 224S. Main Street. Sheridan incorporated in 1885 as part of Johnson County but voted to form Sheridan County in 1888. After a general vote by the new county’s residents, Sheridan was selected as the county seat.
The courthouse was designed by the architectural firm Link and McAllister and construction began in 1904. The contract for construction was awarded to the general construction company Ferguson and Pearson. The building was ready for occupancy in August 1905. Around the turn of the 20th century the trend for government buildings in Wyoming was to be stately and impressive. Sheridan’s courthouse is one of the grandest in the state built in that same impressive and authoritative style that represents the permanence of the city. A jail and sheriff’s office addition was approved and built in 1913expanding the courthouse complex. More offices have been added to the building complex since the courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
The courthouse remains an impressive testament to the tenacity of those who founded Sheridan. It has stood for 118 years of history through booms and busts, and the growth of Sheridan to the city it is today. Imagine the history those walls have witnessed, like Earl McKenna’s murder trial for allegedly killing Undersheriff McPherren during a prohibition raid. One of his lawyers made such a moving speech that those in attendance were moved to tears. The jury found him not guilty. The courthouse has also been host to a myriad of everyday moments from trials to filing documents. Newer parts of the courthouse are where you go for license plates, car registration, to get a marriage license, and more. The building is a part of the fabric of life in Sheridan.