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The greatest need of Perry County, when it was created from the Ste. Genevieve District in 1821 was a courthouse. Although there were a few small areas where groups of people lived, there were no towns in the county where a courthouse could be built.

Bernard Layton gave the county 51 acres of his 640-acre Spanish Land Grant for that purpose. The land was to be laid out in lots and sold to raise money to build the first Perry County Courthouse.

In the meantime, the Perry County Court met four times a year in the home of Bede Moore, a two-story log building about 1 ½ miles north of Perryville to conduct county business.

In 1825, a contract was made for the first courthouse. Funding for the $1,486.25 project came from the sale of 55 lots from the property deeded to the county by Layton.

It was 1826 before the first courthouse was ready to use on the square. No pictures or sketches of the white two-storied frame building with green shutters and a Spanish brown roof with cupola sitting on top have survived. Thomas Hayden contracted to build this courthouse on the northeast corner of the square, completed in 1826.

By 1859, the first courthouse had been outgrown and, in that year, the second Courthouse was built just west of the first one. This building was in the center of the north side of the square and was a two-storied Federal style brick building built for $8,000. John R. Layton superintended the construction and it was completed in 1861. This building continued in use until after the turn of the century when grand jury reports indicated the condition of the building was beyond repair.

In 1903, county residents presented a petition calling for an election and supported a proposition for a $30,000 bond issue to finance a new courthouse. From several plans submitted the Court selected a proposal from J.W. Gaddis of Vincennes, Indiana.

Caldwell and Drake from Columbus, Indiana contracted for construction in January 1904 and work began in February. The laying of the cornerstone ceremony was on June 4, 1904. The celebration included a parade, speeches, music and the largest crowd, ever assembled in Perry County to watch as a huge block of stone was placed in its bed of mortar where it has remained for generations.

With elements of Federal, Romanesque, Gothic and Classical styles the courthouse was completed on November 17, 1904 when Gaddis officially handed over the keys to the governing body. Total cost of the red brick, 65-by-92-foot building was $32,762.98.

A deep well was sunk for water on the property and other modern amenity were included such as a boiler system for heat and a tile sewer for plumbing.

In February of 1905 wrecking and removing the old courthouse began along with sale of old furniture.

In 2015 the courthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and the citizens of Perry County voted to support a tax for maintenance. In 2017 the courthouse underwent a major renovation to repair and preserve its original beauty and significance to the history of Perry County.

Over the last one hundred years the present-day courthouse has conducted the county and state business dealing with land records, birth and death records, court proceedings, laws, elections, county maintenance and many other daily activities. It has been modernized with many new inventions such as telephones, electric, indoor plumbing, heating, air conditioning systems and an elevator.

Would you like to schedule a group tour? We do that! Right here in downtown Perryville, Missouri.

Contact Information:
Trish Erzfeld, Tourism Director
2 W. Ste Maries Street
Perryville, MO 63775
573-517-2069 (c)
trish@perryvillmo.com

Download Full Brochure 

After you play, you can find somewhere to eat! And maybe even stay.

Link to Restaurants

Link to Hotels 

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Year End Review: 2018

We have been working so hard, we wanted to share some really big accomplishments for the Perry County Tourism office during 2018. We wanted to make it short and sweet… but let’s face it the list is LONG! Check them out!

  • Earned two awards from the Missouri Department of Tourism!
    • Innovator Award :: awarded to Perry County Heritage Tourism by the Missouri Division of Tourism at the 2018 Governor's Conference on Tourism. Perryville and Perry County's efforts during the Great American Eclipse were recognized with this year's Innovator award. What a great way to celebrate Perryville and Perry County's significance on this event and the impact we have made locally and around the world.
    • Rising Star Award :: awarded to Trish Erzfeld, Perry County Tourism Director by the Missouri Division of Tourism at the 2018 Governor's Conference on Tourism
  • Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy Graduate: Our Tourism Director, Trish Erzfeld participated and graduated from The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) ‘s Delta Leadership Institute (DLI) Executive Academy. The program equips participants with the tools, experiences and networks that will help them create new economic opportunities in Delta communities as well as support the growth of the region’s economy. LINK: https://www.semissourian.com/story/2541489.html
  • Worked with local, state and regional newspaper/magazine sources to showcase the events, programs and projects going in and around Perryville and Perry County, Missouri. This includes the following publications: Southeast Missourian, 573 Magazine and Missouri Life
  • Created and implemented the Perry County Barn Quilt Trail with the help of local volunteers and artists throughout Perry, Bollinger and Cape Girardeau Counties. This trail brings families and individuals to our region to view barn quilts and enjoy the hospitality of Perryville and all of Perry County. This also includes a brand new printed brochure, after securing financial assistance from the Missouri Humanities Council.
  • Lead the marketing efforts for the 14th Annual Christmas Country Church Tour, bringing in thousands of steeple chasers from all over Southeast Missouri, the state of Missouri and the Midwest Region. This highly visible and attended event brings tourism tax dollars to the county each year.
  • Supported and promoted the Smithsonian Exhibit: Hometown Teams, hosted by the Perry County Historical Society bringing together the community and visitors from the region.
  • Promoted local activities to the Perryville Soccer fall tournament attendees from neighboring communities throughout Southeast Missouri.
  • Supported and attended the International History Conference in Altenburg, Missouri. Each year the Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum hosts a multi-day conference for individuals all over the world, particularly the country of Germany. By supporting this conference, we are promoting our hotels, restaurants, shopping and natural areas to attendees.
  • A partnership was built and executed with the City of Perryville and the regional 573 magazine publication. This has resulted in six promotional ads a year highlighting events in our community, to highlighting all things great about Perryville and Perry County with the execution of the “We Love Perryville” campaign.
  • Produced a Hiking Brochure featuring the best natural hiking opportunities in Perry County.
  • Produced a new tri-fold brochure promoting the Perry County Courthouse, its history and the new on-site walking tours.
  • Created and printed a brand new map of Perry County, and all it has to offer. This includes restaurants, retail shops, breweries, wineries, natural areas, and the eight local cultural sites.
  • Partnered with the Saxon Lutheran Memorial board and Missouri Humanities Council to showcase the memorial grounds with a brochure featuring all buildings on the property and their events. This will be used in conjunction with new bus tours to the area.
  • Created and promoted NINE aspects of Perryville and Perry County through paper printed profile sheets/guides: Discover Perry County, Airport Fly-Ins, Path 2 Promiseland, Faith 2 Freedom Tour, Agritainment, BOTS, Old Timer’s Day, Missouri’s National Vietnam Memorial, Christmas Country Church Tour, Motorcycle Guide
  • Partnered with local photographer to create, print and promote Perry County Postcards for guests and even locals!
  • Lead the efforts and promotions for the following projects in Perryville and Perry County:
    • Rainbow Trout at Legion Lake
    • Shawnee Indian Dig Sites (2)
    • German Inventory
    • Tourism Study
    • Malone Clan Expeditions, Travels with Germans/Americans
    • Dr. Carolyn Show
  • Supported the following events/projects by speaking at the events:
    • Missouri Community Betterment Presentations
    • Carterville Chamber of Commerce: EDA Community Retreat (Carterville, IL)

For more information, contact Perry County Heritage Tourism Director, Trish Erzfeld at 573-517-2069 or trish@perryvillemo.com. 


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