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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 elsewhere. Paperwork was stored everywhere, and insurance rates began to rise.

In 1937, the county received a grant to plan a new structure, and architect Day W. Hilborn was retained. For $500,000, he imagined a fortress built of reinforced concrete.

A new courthouse was badly needed by 1939 that the commissioners bought the old Central School site, revised the original plans for the courthouse, 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 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

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