Our History

Nicollet County, named in honor of French explorer Joseph N. Nicollet, lies in south central Minnesota and closely resembles an isosceles triangle with 104.6 miles of Minnesota River front. Within the 280,866.22 total acres in the county, almost 245,000 acres is farmland with 24,000 acres of forest land and 12,000 acres of wetland. The county is composed of 5 cities and 13 townships.

Establishing the County

In order to establish the county, the territorial governor appointed the following Nicollet County officers:

  • County Treasurer
  • Register of Deeds
  • Sheriff
  • Three County Commissioners

The 1st board meeting was held on June 27, 1853 at the hall in Traverse de Sioux.

First County Election

The 1st county election was held on October 11, 1853 to fill the following offices:

  • County Treasurer
  • Court Surveyor
  • District Attorney
  • Judge of Probate
  • Register of Deeds
  • Sheriff
  • Three Assessors
  • Three County Commissioners
  • Two Constables


The county commissioners originally established 9 townships in Nicollet County. Several years later, 4 more townships were created.
By 1859, there were 15 school districts in Nicollet County. The 1st railroad came St. Peter in 1868.

State Capitol

The state capitol was nearly moved to St. Peter from St. Paul. However, Joseph Rollette absconded with the bill that would make St. Peter the state capitol.

County Courthouse

In 1856, a petition was submitted to move the County Courthouse from Traverse des Sioux to St. Peter. The petition was thrown out because some names were duplicates, some were non-residents, and some were deceased persons, along with other various reasons. In 1858, the petition was resubmitted and passed by a vote of 457 to 301, and the Courthouse was built in St. Peter.

Construction of the present courthouse was started in 1880 and completed the following year. An addition to the courthouse was built in 1976. Following damage from a tornado in March of 1998, a remodeling and addition project took place in 1999-2000.

Nicollet County Mission Statement

Providing efficient services with innovation and accountability.