Rochester was the first county seat of Cedar County. In 1840, a log building was constructed there to serve as a courthouse. However, it may only have been used as a jail, or for school exhibitions and dances.
In July of 1841, plans were developed for the first real courthouse to be erected in Tipton. Problems arose with the contractor and in 1845, the board of commissioners ordered the contractor to cease operation and the county finished the work on the building. Upon completion, the two-story courthouse had enough space left over to rent out for private use.
The third courthouse, a beautiful brick building was completed in 1859 for $45,000. It was said to be one of the best in the state. Cedar County expanded the building by 1889. The original cupola was removed and additional space, as well as a beautiful clock tower were built on.
The present modern courthouse began construction in 1965 and was dedicated in 1968. The cost was approximately $595,000.