Monroe County, originally called Kishkekosh County after a Fox Indian chief, is named after the author of the Monroe Doctrine and fifth president of the United States James Monroe.
When the county was being settled, there was considerable controversy over the location of the county seat. The battle was between the towns of Princeton (now Albia) and Clark’s Point (Clarksville). On August 5, 1845 a committee appointed to choose the county seat selected Princeton as the county seat. In 1846 the Iowa Legislature changed the name of Princeton to Albia, because there was already a Princeton in Iowa.
The first courthouse of Monroe County was a small log cabin, which was rented out for $1 a month when court was not in session. This courthouse was 20-foot x 20-foot and one and one-half stories high. The contractor was paid $75 when it was completed in 1846.
This courthouse was used until 1858 when it was replaced by the second Monroe County courthouse. This building was built of brick at a cost of $10,900 and located in the center of the town park.
The present courthouse replaced the second one on October 26, 1903. The original price tag of this building was to be $75,000 but the actual price ended up being $93,000. The Renaissance style building is built from stone and brick. The architect was O. O. Smith and the contractor was James Rowson & Sons.