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WASHINGTON COUNTY was organized at statehood from part of the old Cherokee Nation. The name honored George Washington, the first president of the United States. The county seat selected by delegates to the Constitutional Convention was Bartlesville, a town established in 1879 and named for Jacob Bartles, who had built a trading post on the site.
In 1913, after renting space for six years, county commissioners began work on a new county courthouse. Designed by architect P.H. Weathers, the work was completed by the Inland Construction Company at a cost of $94,750. The structure combined a unique mixture of architectural elements. The basic design was Second Renaissance Revival, with distinct horizontal zones, molded belt courses, rusticated stone finish on the ground level, and small fourth floor windows. Other elements of design included the colossal arch over the main entry, decorative touches of Neo-Classical architecture, and a sweeping staircase leading to the main entry.
In 1972 Washington County purchased the present county courthouse for $115,000 from the federal government, which had used it as a federal post office and court building. Built in 1933, the brick and granite structure was designed by architect James E. Wetmore. The facade of the building was divided into two distinct zones, a lower level of smooth faced stone, the upper level of brick. This division was enhanced by unique window treatment and proportion. Other elements of design included the smooth ashlars quoins, the tiled roof, and the single dormer on the roof.