Adams

History

Among the most significant points in the early development of Adams County was the battle that was waged to locate the site of its government.

Named in honor of John Adams, the second president of the United States, Adams County's boundaries were officially established on Feb. 16, 1867. After the county was organized, Juniata served the county seat. But the area that would become Hastings was growing rapidly due to superior railroad facilities. What would follow was a 10-year struggle between the two to become the county seat.

In the first county election in December 1871, the initial skirmish ended with Juniata prevailing. At a mass meeting held in Hastings in 1873, plans were outlined by local leaders to locate the county seat in the rapidly-growing community. The activities by a special committee appointed at that meeting alarmed the citizens of Juniata, who in early 1874 adopted a resolution favoring the erection of a courthouse in their community. The County Board, in June of that year, instructed the sheriff to secure bids for the construction of a courthouse building not exceeding $20,000.

Hastings citizens were unaware of this action until county Clerk A.H. Cramer, who was sympathetic to the Hastings cause, informed another Hastings citizen of what was taking place. When the time arrived to open bids for the Juniata courthouse, Cramer refused to issue the warrants that were necessary. The County Board immediately declared his office vacant; however, Cramer refused to give up his office keys. Within days a restraining order was issued to stop the construction of a courthouse in Juniata and the residents of Hastings became more determined than ever. In 1877, by a vote of 844 to 535, Hastings became the county seat. The citizens of Hastings, in an effort to avoid any unnecessary trouble, drove wagons to Juniata after sundown to retrieve county records.

The original courthouse was built in 1889 for $77,815 and became known as the showplace of Adams County. It served residents until the present courthouse was dedicated in 1964.