Built in 1913, the three-story Jackson County Courthouse in Walden is the most important building in the county. Designed by the prominent early twentieth-century Denver architect William N. Bowman (1868–1944), the building continues to house most county functions today.
Incorporated in 1890, Walden is the only municipality in sparsely populated North Park, a high-elevation basin near the Wyoming border. When Walden was founded, North Park was still part of Larimer County. In 1909, however, North Park became its own county, initially known as North Park County but soon renamed Jackson County to differentiate it from Park County. Walden became the county seat. The county courthouse was completed four years later, in 1913. In the few years before the courthouse opened, county records were kept at the Mosman Store.
The Classical Revival courthouse was designed by William N. Bowman, who had opened his own practice in Denver in 1910, and it is a good example of his early work in Colorado. It features a facade of large buff-colored sandstone blocks quarried near Mendenhall Creek, about ten miles northeast of town. Four Ionic columns frame the main entrance. The building occupies a parklike setting at the intersection of Fourth and Lafever Streets, on land donated by Walden resident Archie Hunter. The construction cost was $28,000.
Today the courthouse still performs most county functions. The basement serves as the sheriff’s office and county jail, including the original 1913 jail cells. County offices occupy the first floor, and the county court is located on the second and third floors. The building’s exterior remains largely unaltered. Much of the interior is also original, including the wood floors, wainscoting, plaster walls, ceilings, and doors.