Burlington beat out a place called "Center" in 1843 to serve as the first county seat. Court was held in log cabins until the board leased Marion Hall to accommodate the court. In 1866, Mozart Hall was purchased, but the building and many county documents were lost in a fire in 1873. Temporary quarters were once again established at Marion Hall.
In 1882, four-story building with a cupola was built at a cost of $130,000. Cut sandstone from Ohio was used for the body and dome while the main part of the building was constructed of brick. Since it was intended to be a fireproof building, empty spaces between floors and ceiling were filled with concrete upon which solid stone floors were laid.
This courthouse was sold by the county in 1940 and the present courthouse was then built across the street. The total cost of the new courthouse was $280,000.