— Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations, I.T. —
The construction of this courthouse was
financed in 1898 by two private
entrepreneurs, Joe F. Robinson and
A. V. Doak. The building was leased to the Federal
Government and the court was presided over by
Judge Hosea Townsend. This fourth location for the
Federal Courthouse since 1890* was in use
until the Federal Building on Washington
Avenue was built in 1915.
The first floor of the structure housed
the U.S. Commissioner, the U.S. Attorney
the U.S. Marshall and the Jury rooms. The
Court, judges chambers, witness room and
the Court Clerk's office were located on the
West of the court was the jail which was
divided into two sections by a high stone wall wide
enough for two guards to walk with guard houses at
two corners. The first section was for male prisoners.
The second section was for women prisoners, the
men's hospital, jail offices and quarters for the
"trustees". A well dug in the back of the prison yard
provided water for all. Beneath the jail a stone
dungeon was built which served as the ločal insane
asylum. This jail was in use until 1904, when the old
Carter County Jail was built.
Ardmore's being designated a "court town"
brought prosperity to the local businesses. In 1896
there were 100 lawyers in Ardmore as a
result of the Federal Court's large caseload,
paying a $15.00 permit fee to practice
law in the Chickasaw Nation. At that time
cases were heard randomly as no court
docket was set. This required
litigants to remain in Ardmore for the
months when court was in session. The
litigants were essentially forced to remain
in Ardmore until their turn came up. This
situation continued until Statehood in 1907, when
much of the caseload came under the jurisdiction of
the State District Courts.
*1890 Broadway Methodist Church, 1891 two story frame on N.
Washington burnt 1895, temporary courthouse on W. Main 1895
where Kress Bldg. stands