Courthouse Renovation Project

Courthouse - Eric Funk


  • The Ouray County Courthouse was completed in December 1888 for the sum of $22,336. Before the Courthouse was deemed officially completed​, an additional $13,000 was needed to install heating and furnishings. Most of the furnishings are still in use in the Courthouse, including desks, safes, and vaults. The Courthouse is listed as a National Historic Structure under the umbrella of the Ouray Historic District on the State of Colorado Registry (History Colorado). 
  • The Ouray County Courthouse features richly decorative detailing common with Italianate, Romanesque, Queen Anne, and early Classical Revival architecture popular in the late 1800s. 
  • The Courthouse has a rich and storied history, including being featured in the 1969 John Wayne Film "True Grit"; in addition, the building is purported to have ghostly residents. Most recently, the Courthouse was profiled by the PBS docuseries "Colorado Experience: Courthouses." 

Renovation Details:

  • In 2016 a Feasibility Study and Courthouse Master Plan were developed in order to address the existing critical elements of the Courthouse that are in desperate need of repair. Most notably, the Feasibility Study states that the Historical "Courthouse and Jail Building do not meet current life safety codes, specifically with regard to fire protection... Decades of water and moisture infiltration at the perimeter of the building and into the below-grade space have created deterioration of mortar within the structural foundation. The existing piping for domestic water as waste appear to have surpassed its useful life and needs replacement. The net result is that this jewel of a building with one of the strongest ties to Ouray County's past is in danger of becoming unfit for occupancy unless action is taken."
  • Purposed renovations and repairs include: foundation systems improvements; mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems replacements; exterior site work; drainage mitigation and water damage repair; interior repair for all three levels including wood, windows, and doors cornice and cupola, exterior brick restoration; sidewalk and landscape improvements; enhanced ADA compliance, and west (main) entrance porch rebuild. 

Why Renovate the Courthouse? 

  • The 129 year old Courthouse has continuously been used for the original purpose intended: to serve as the "House of the People" for the provision of law and order through State, County, and Municipal court proceedings, and for County services.
  • The proposed renovations and restorations will meet the County's current and future needs. 

Project Costs & Funding:

  • Estimated construction costs for all aspects of the Courthouse repair and restoration is estimated at $9.2 million. Ouray County intends to apply for grants from multiple sources for upwards of $4 million. The remaining funding is to be strategically discussed for possible voter consideration. 

​How to Support the Courthouse Renovation Project: