Thursday, June 3, 2010

June 3: Bonneville County Courthouse

On June 3, 1919, voters in Bonneville County passed a bond election to fund a new county courthouse. After the county was formed in February 1911, court was held in an old two-story brick building on Broadway. The summer of the following year, the commissioners bought land about three blocks north for a new courthouse.
Bonneville County Courthouse.

However, nearly seven years passed before residents were willing to fund a new structure. After a survey of courthouses in other towns, the commissioners approved a set of architectural drawings and construction began late in the year.

Officials opened the new courthouse in March of 1921. The spring weather cooperated and thousands of locals showed up to hear speeches and tour the new building. Over the years, the structure grew overcrowded so an annex was added on the south side.

Further expansion in official business led to construction of the City-County Law Enforcement Building, completed in 1978. The following year, the old Courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Courthouse interior.
Today, the building’s exterior looks much as it did almost ninety years ago. Interior offices spaces have been remodeled and many upgrades have changed the structure “behind the scenes.” Still, the interior’s public views retain much of the grandeur of that earlier day.
References: [Hawley]
“Bonneville County Courthouse,” National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service.
Mary Jane Fritzen, Idaho Falls, City of Destiny, Bonneville County Historical Society (1991).
“Golden Jubilee Edition, 1884–1934,” Idaho Falls Post-Register (September 10, 1934).

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