The first Jones County Courthouse was a 30 by 40 foot structure, built for $800. It was first occupied on January 3, 1848. The building was vacated in 1864 when the board of supervisors decided that it was better fit for bats and owls than for court. It was destroyed by fire in 1875.
The county rented space for offices and court until a county seat contest heated up between Center Junction and Anamosa. Anamosa appropriated $6,000 to purchase the second floor of Shaw's block to be used by the county so long as the county seat remained in that city.
On September 10, 1935, an election was held, resulting in 76.8 percent of the voters favoring a new courthouse. The building was completed at a cost of $200,000 in 1937.