WPA Project Built a Home for Justice in Gem County


Published in Legal Alert

“With rooms and vaults built to order, modernistic furnishings and a beautiful building the [Gem] county officials will find themselves surrounded with a new dignity and a higher, more active prestige,” said the Emmett Messenger newspaper on July 27, 1939, just days before county officers made the move into the almost completed Gem County Courthouse.

Rent for the old county quarters would have been due August 1 and the county was interested in saving money, so the move would occur even if the building wasn’t completely finished. The installation of landscaping and concrete walkways outside and the placement of some furniture inside remained to complete the new courthouse and county offices building.

The county’s offices had existed as a vagabond, moving from one “make shift quarters” to another since the old courthouse burned down almost twenty years before. The new courthouse, though, had fresh walls that were “finished in beautiful shades of light brown and ivory and concrete steps . . . covered with hard composition board and trimmed with metal.” Plumbing, heating, and lighting were “of the most modern order.” The outside was constructed in concrete, which was scored to resemble blocks, and then sandblasted to give it its appearance. It didn’t matter that this building was a smaller replica of the Weiser Courthouse in Washington County; Gem County now had a permanent place for its offices. FOR MORE PLEASE CLICK HERE

As seen in the November/December 2011 Advocate

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