Adams County Historic Preservation Commission
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PROJECTS

1915 Courthouse

Background
In the early spring of 2000, just after the county employees had moved into the new courthouse, a small group of Council folks met to talk about the future of the abandoned 1915 courthouse.

There were many questions. What could the building be used for? What kinds of repairs were needed? What would it take to restore the building to its original state? How much would all of this cost? Where would the money come from? Would it be better to tear the building down and use the space for something new? How did the rest of the community feel about the building? After a lot of discussion the group decided to set out to find answers to these questions.


Front of Courthouse with painted portraits
Historic photographs were used as the
inspiration for the portraits painted on
the window coverings by Council High
School art students.

The County Commissioners were supportive of the investigation and officially appointed the group as an ad hoc committee that became the Adams County Courthouse Restoration Committee.

The committee raised enough money in grants to have a professional feasibility study done on the building. The study was completed in the fall of 2002 and included two phases. First was a structural analysis and second was a use analysis. The study concluded that it was indeed feasible to restore the building and that its best use would be a "community cultural center."

The committee made recommendations to the commissioners based on the findings of the study. Everyone agreed it would be worthwhile to develop a plan for restoration and use. It was clear that the plan would have ambitious goals and that the original Courthouse Committee would need to strengthen and expand in order to accomplish the goals.

So Adams County became part of the Certified Local Government program and appointed a Historic Preservation Commission to begin working on a plan.

 

Current Activities                     Courthouse drawing
The Adams County Historic Preservation Commission (ACHPC) is currently working on that ambitious plan. The long-range goal is full restoration and use as a "community cultural center."

For the shorter range, the commission is planning immediate limited use while, at the same time, identifying structural needs related to use and prioritizing those needs as they fit into the overall restoration plan. The idea is to move forward with small steps involving both use and structural improvements until the long-range goal is reached. Any structural improvements will be paid for by grants.

Accomplishments:

The play, “Dear Editor” was presented in the old courtroom in the summer fo 2003 for a capacity crowd, and the courtroom proved to work well for such performances. At that time, the air-conditioning in the courtroom was not working, but the problem was found to be minor and has since been repaired.

2004:

The ACHPC received several grants that enabled renovation projects to begin. These grants came from the Idaho Heritage Trust, the Idaho Commission on the Arts, the Idaho Communities Foundation and the Idaho Historical Society.

Some of the plumbing was repaired and revamped to supply water to a couple of the bathrooms. Provisions were also made to more easily drain the water system for winter.

2005:

A $9,500 Cultural Facilities grant was awarded by the Idaho Commission on the Arts. This grant was used to convert the main, existing bathroom and a closet on the upper floor into two bathrooms. One of these is handicap accessible. This will make use of the courtroom for plays and musical performances more practical, as well as enhance general use of the building. Accessibility to the building will follow as grant money becomes available.

In its letter accompanying the grant award notification, the Arts Commission said,
The single most important factor in the selection process was the quality of the work. To have succeeded in such a competition is an accomplishment well worthy of our compliments, our heartfelt applause. Endeavors such as yours augment and enhance not only the community where you live, but enrich the culture of other individuals and thereby the state as a whole.

Below: The main, handicap accessible restroom when finished, May 2005.

For more photos of the restrooms and the project as it progressed, click here.


2007:

We  received an Idaho Community Block Grant for $257, 649.

2007 grant photo

Above: On May 14, 2007 we met Governor Otter in McCall for the presentation of an Idaho Community Block Grant for $257, 649. Shown above are, left to right, Governor Otter, Adams County Commissioner Bill Brown, Dale Fisk, Pete Johnston, Elaine Johnston, Jim Peart, Tim Toomey and grant administrator Shawn Charters.

Project scompleted with the Idaho Community Block Grant:

1--Tying the floor/ceiling joists to the outside walls

2--Reinforcing the rafter/truss system and its connection to the outside walls

3--Repairing the Mission Style cupola on the front of the building

4--The front steps were rebuilt and the entry framework was repaired to make the formal entrance to the building more attractive and functional.

2008:

The Community Block Grant was put into action.......

These portions of the project have been completed:

1--Tying the floor/ceiling joists to the outside walls

2--Reinforcing the rafter/truss system and its connection to the outside walls

3--Repairing the Mission Style cupola on the front of the building

For photos of some of this work, click HERE.

2009: The front steps were rebuilt to make the formal entrance to the building more attractive and functional.

2011:

 

We applied for, and received, an Idaho Communtity Block Grant through the Idaho Department of Commerce.

Goals for 2011, funded by Block Grant:

 

            1.   Replacement of electrical system

            2.   Installation of heating system

            3.   Installation of cooling system

            4.   Installation of chair lift for handicap accessibility.

 

The dollar amount was cut back severely, so we were unable to install a handicap lift or complete heating and airconditioning.

See pictures of some of the work HERE.

See a letter from the State Historic Preservation Office, which lists our accomplishments as of January 2011 HERE.


 
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