The Caribou Courthouse

The Caribou Courthouse was built in 1895 and originally named the Aroostook County Superior Courthouse. In 1975 an addition was completed. The County Commissioners' Office, as well as the County Administrator's, Facilities and Information Technology, Public Works Director's Offices and Human Resource's Director are located on the ground floor. The Maine Law Library and Sheriff's holding room are also located on this floor. The District Court and Superior Court Offices are located on the first floor, while the Superior Courtroom, District Attorney's, Community Corrections, Law Enforcement satilite office and Probation and Parole Offices, are located on the second floor.

History of the Building

Taken from Early History of Caribou Maine by Stella King White

The Aroostook County Superior Court had been established by law in 1885 and its sessions had been held at Caribou in Clark's Hall with Judge Robinson, formerly of Houlton, then Presque Isle, presiding.

In 1893 the Legislature abolished the Superior Court which had been holding sessions at Caribou, transferring jurisdiction theretofore held by that Court to the Supreme Judicial Court.

There was a further provision that the 'County of Aroostook should furnish proper and convenient rooms and accommodations in the Town of Caribou for the use of Supreme Judicial Court.'

The law further provided for holding sessions of the Supreme Judicial Court on the fourth Tuesday of April and the third Tuesday of September at Houlton for civil and criminal business, and at Caribou the first Tuesday in December for civil business alone.

The May, 1893 term of the Superior Court held at Caribou was the last term of that court held there; and the December 1893 term of Supreme Judicial Court was the first term of that court held in Caribou. The December, 1894, term was held in Caribou before the building of the Court House. These sessions were all held in Clarks Hall as nothing else was available.

The law authorizing the Court House was passed in Legislature of 1895 directing the County Commissioners of Aroostook "to construct of brick and furnish a suitable Court House in Caribou, in which to hold such terms of the Supreme Judicial, probate and insolvent courts as might, by law, be held in Caribou at a total expense of twenty thousand dollars. Provided, however, that there should be first tendered to the Commissioners a good and sufficient deed of land in Caribou village, running to the county, free of charge, upon which to build the Court House.

It is remembered by some of the older residents of the town that there was considerable difficulty in finding a lot that suited everyone, but the deadlock was broken when Lyman Stevens offered to give to the town the lot on which the Court House now stands. The gift was accepted though many felt then, that it was much too far from the business section and some still feel so.

The Court House was built that summer of 1895 - a fine, brick building on Sweden Street and it was ready for the December term of Court. The legal business of a very large county was now more equally divided between the northern and southern frontiers of Aroostook. The travelling expenses of litigants in northern Aroostook had been so great that there had even been talk of making two counties out of one, Northern Aroostook and Southern Aroostook. But that idea never became popular and the establishment of another court in northern Aroostook in 1885 helped the situation much in equalizing the expenses between the two sections that there was nothing more said concerning the division of the county.