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Preserving History, Building a Future

Welcome to the official website of Friends of the Carter County Courthouse, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the historical and architectural significance of the Carter County, Missouri Courthouse.
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Our Mission

To facilitate the preservation of the Carter County Courthouse by assisting local government in the conception of its future use, the plan for its design, and the enlistment of support for its renovation.

The Courthouse Story

The Carter County Courthouse is a two-story wooden-frame structure with a cobblestone facade enclosing approximately 9,800 square feet. Situated on the southern end of Van Buren, the courthouse occupies one city block, which is bounded by a low cobblestone wall of matching construction. The courthouse is near the Current River and has served as the seat of county government until May 2017, when it was damaged by unprecedented flooding.

An original courthouse was completed in October 1871, when a post-and-beam building was constructed by the county for a cost of $3,000. On January 21, 1936, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) built a substantial addition on the east end of the building. The WPA finished the construction phase by adding a cobblestone exterior to both the old and new sections of the structure, followed by the construction of a wall to enclose the square shortly afterward. During the early 1990s, an elevator annex was built on the east end of the courthouse; this annex was given a matching cobblestone facade.

Within the Courthouse Square (sited on the northwest corner) is a veterans’ memorial erected around 1920. Engraved upon the memorial’s stone plinth are the names of Carter County’s fallen soldiers.

The Courthouse has sat abandoned since Spring 2017 due to the flood damage. While the building’s second floor is in the same basic condition as it was pre-flood, floor tiles and ceiling materials were removed from the first floor, and the interior walls of the flooded downstairs were stripped down to studding to facilitate drying.

Old termite damage to studying exists, but engineers have deemed the structure sound and asbestos-free, and no mold has been detected. The elevator is inoperable and in need of repair or replacement, as its electrical components were submerged during the flood. Externally, the Courthouse’s­ appearance is relatively unchanged.

Since the flood, all county offices situated in the Courthouse have been moved to temporary locations until the county government completes a proposed Justice Center to house them; this includes the sheriff’s office and jail and the prosecuting attorney’s office. Federal and state funding for the Justice Center may not be used for any renovation of the cobblestone courthouse, and Carter, one of the poorest counties in the State of Missouri, does not possess sufficient funds for its renovation.

The Friends of the Carter County Courthouse aims to devise a renovation plan for the building, enabling it to serve as a functional public structure for the advantage of locals and tourists. Additionally, they plan to generate donations and acquire grants to aid the county in the restoration of the building.

The non-profit has already engaged the services of an architect to assist with design; however, all final de­cisions as to design and use will be made by the Carter County Commission, as the local government retains ownership and overall control of the building.

In April 2023, the Carter County Commission was awarded a $630,454 matching grant from the Missouri Department of Economic Development, and the Friends of the Carter County Courthouse has taken on the responsibility of fundraising the remaining amount needed to complete the project.

Read the Preliminary Architectural Report

Our Activities

Our activities involve planning, education, fundraising, and a focus on the future.


We conduct an assessment of the current condition of the courthouse and engage with the community stakeholders to develop a vision for its functionality and future use.

We procure architectural services to create drawings and plans for repair and renovation, which are presented to stakeholders for approval. We collaborate with Carter County officials to arrange for contractors to complete the approved repairs and renovations.


We aim to raise awareness about the history and unique architectural attributes of the courthouse through media, print materials, historical storytelling, and presentations.

We believe that educating the community about the importance of this building will foster a sense of pride in our shared heritage.


We pursue relationships with individuals, seek grant and foundation opportunities, and conduct various fundraising activities, including in-person, mail, and electronic solicitation, events, and campaigns.

Our ultimate goal is to achieve a budget level that will assist in the ongoing preservation of the building and provide education about the historical and architectural importance of the Carter County Courthouse.


Our work will not stop once the immediate goals have been met, and the Carter County Courthouse is repaired, renovated, and operational.

We will continue our fundraising and educational efforts to achieve a sustainable budget that will assist in the ongoing preservation of the building and promote awareness of its significance.

Join us in our mission to preserve and promote the historical and architectural significance of the Carter County Courthouse.

In the News

Devastated by 2017 flood, work continues to save Carter County Courthouse

Carter County Courthouse

Our Board of Directors

  • Ronnie Keeney, Carter County Commissioner 
  • Rebeca Pacheco, President
  • Mark Norris, VP
  • Liz Orr, Secretary
  • Andy Dazey, Treasurer
  • Jason Lott, National Park Service Liaison
  • Linda Terry
  • Jeremy Manning
  • Jeanette Heavin
  • Jerry Presley
  • John Barnes
  • Gerri Flatt
  • Jennifer Williams
  • Susan Van Winkle
The Carter County Courthouse was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 6, 2022. This is a big step in ensuring the future of this unique courthouse.

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