Pope County Information
POPE COUNTY lies in the famous “Park Region” of west central Minnesota. It was named in honor of Captain John Pope, a military surveyor in the upper Midwest. Pope later served as a Civil War General and was instrumental in the Dakota conflicts of the 1860’s. The County embraces an area of about 460,800 acres, or twenty congressional townships.
Few counties in the great State of Minnesota can compare with Pope County in the beauty of natural scenery - its rolling prairies, interspersed and diversified with natural and domestic groves, studded with lakes and adorned by that magnificent sheet of water, Lake Minnewaska, lying in its wondrous beauty among the hills and wooded bluffs. One versatile writer in speaking of this famous lake, says, “One can hardly look upon this magnificent sheet of water and its varied surroundings and not feel that it is a joy to live—to feel that in just such marvelous scenes as here meet the eye at every turn the Great Giver has made ample compensations for the ills of life.”
On the 20th of February, 1862, the Legislature of Minnesota set off the territory which now forms Pope County, defined its boundaries and gave it the name of Pope, locating the seat of justice at Stockholm, in Gilchrist township. For several years, Pope County remained attached to Stearns County for civil and judicial purposes, with provisions being made that could effect this organization when the population grew.
In August of 1866, a convention was held at Stockholm for the purpose of organizing the county. A petition for organization was prepared and signed and forwarded to Governor W.R. Marshall. In response to this petition, the Governor,on the 18th of August, 1866, appointed Thomas Chance, J.G. Canfield and Ole Reine, as the first commissioners of the county, and directed them to take the necessary steps to effect a county organization. The county seat had been located at Stockholm by the original act, and the first meeting was held at that place on the 4th of September, 1866.
On the same date the board proceeded to organize the county by appointing the following: Kirk J. Kinney, auditor; Isaac Thorson, treasurer; J.G. Canfield, register of deeds; Ole Peterson, sheriff; J.C. Bodwell, attorney; and Thomas Chance, surveyor. Thus was the county ushered into existence as an official organization.
At the fall election of 1866, the county seat was removed from Stockholm to Glenwood, where it has since remained. A substantial and commodious brick courthouse was erected in 1879 on a commanding site north of the business center of the village, in which the county offices were located. The grounds included a fountain playing in front of the courthouse, adding to the beauty of the site. As early as 1899, the County Commissioners established a fund for the eventual upgrading or replacement of this courthouse. This fund continued to grow until 1930 when the original structure of our current courthouse building was constructed at a cost of $173,500, paid in full upon completion.