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New courthouse is fireproof concrete fortress (1942)

By the 1930s Clark County's third courthouse was bulging at the seams. The county attorney, justice of the peace, welfare department, and other officers were forced to rent space in other areas. Paperwork was stored everywhere and insurance rates began to spiral upward.

In 1937 a grant was obtained to start planning a new structure and Day W. Hilborn was retained as the architect. For a $500,000 price tag, he imagined a fortress built of reinforced concrete.

The need for the new courthouse was so great by 1939 that the commissioners bought the site of the old Central School, had the original plans for the courthouse revised, and built a smaller, less grand building without an elevator, linoleum floors, or finishing touches in the halls for $351,981.

The 78,062-square-foot courthouse, with six stories and a basement, was built to withstand hurricanes, earthquakes, and fires (of course). In November 1941, voters approved a special levy to raise another $64,071 to complete the building. It was dedicated in 1942 and that same year courthouse number three was torn down.

The rose-colored, Art Deco building is still home to Clark County's Superior and District courts.

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Street address: 1300 Franklin Street, Floor 6, Vancouver, WA 98660
Mailing address: P.O. Box 5000, Vancouver, WA 98666-5000
Main phone: (360) 397-6012 | FAX: (360) 397-6015
E-mail: pio@clark.wa.gov

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