Jefferson County Courthouse and Tower

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 2003

The Jefferson County Courthouse, built in 1892 on a bluff overlooking the town and visible to all, symbolized the city and county’s prosperity in the late 19th century heyday of shipping and logging. The massive Romanesque brick, sandstone, and terra cotta building is still being used for its original purpose. A thick coating of sealer was applied to the exterior masonry in the 1970s, but it is unreinforced and therefore unable to withstand a large earthquake. Of even greater concern than the courthouse is the clocktower, which due to its high, exposed location, is significantly overstressed by wind loads. Approximately $1.35 million in grants and appropriations have been raised for repair and maintenance of the tower and courthouse, but the estimated budget for strengthening the tower alone is $3 million. The urgency of the project remains.