MILLION DOLLAR COURTHOUSE




Investigators Present

Richard
Jason
John




Evidence

video


History
The Lincoln County Courthouse, also known as the Pioche Courthouse and the Old Lincoln County Courthouse, in Pioche, Nevada earned the title "Million Dollar Courthouse" after it cost $75,000 to build in 1872,
an amount equivalent to over $1 million in year 2000
dollars for a relatively small building. With added costs
attributed to finance charges and fiscal mismanagement, the cost in 1872 dollars came to over $800,000, or more
than $11 million in year 2000 dollars. The debt incurred
by the county was not retired until 1938, when the new courthouse was under construction.

The budget for the courthouse project was $26,000. However the initial construction contract was broken and the building was completed with separate contracts at a much higher total cost. In the meantime the county issued a   $75,000 bond and quantities of scrip to cover other county obligations that were charged to the courthouse project.
With the decline of mining in the county tax assessments
fell and the county failed to keep up with interest charges
and made no payments at all on principal.


An attempted repudiation of the debt in the 1880s failed. Finally, in 1907 the Nevada legislature established a plan
to redeem the debt at 65% of the outstanding obligation, with part of the debt undertaken by Clark County, newly
created from the southern part of Lincoln County in 1909. The debt
was retired in 1938, the same year that the new courthouse was built. The 1872 courthouse was alleged at the time to be unstable and deteriorating.
Despite its state
of disrepair, the courthouse survived
almost forty years of abandonment and was restored in the 1970s to function as
a local history museum.
The courthouse was designed by T. Dimmock and Thomas Keefe. The two story building is Italianate in style with a brick front and rubble stone masonry sides and rear. Sited on a hill to the rear, the jail is accessible from the second floor. The courthouse was listed on the National Register
Of Historical Places in 1978.
The tiny jail was built to
house 66 prisoners and had no electricity, no heat, and  little natural light.