Euphoric Lakeview Builds a Towering Courthouse in 1909

Date: 

Friday, Nov. 24, 2017

Author: 

Kernan Turner

Episode: 

3 328

Today a modest, one-floor courthouse sits in the center of town in Lakeview, Ore., the Lake County seat of government.

The previous courthouse, occupied from 1909 to 1954, was much more imposing, described by one writer as “a civic monument in a small and isolated town that believed it was finally on the verge of an era of economic prosperity and increasing population.”  At the time, the Lake County Examiner newspaper predicted that the county was “the future garden spot of the Northwest.”

That same year, 1909, a real estate scam sold some 14,000 parcels of rural land totaling 340,000 acres in one week.

During the euphoria, county officials built the ornate, three-story, masonry and brick courthouse in a vague Queen Anne style, featuring windowed towers on each side of the entranceway. The roof had a huge bell tower that housed a set of chimes and a four-faced clock.  Newspapers later speculated the design was based on a late 1800s Nebraska courthouse.

An Oregon Historical Society writer said it “reflected the significance of local government and the ambitions of Lake County’s populace in the 1900s.”

The new courthouse replaced the ornate building in 1954.

Source: Engeman, Richard. "The Lake County Courthouse, Lakeview." Oregon History Project, Oregon Historical Society, 28 Aug. 2017, https://oregonhistoryproject.org/articles/historical-records/lake-county.... Accessed 22 Oct. 2017.

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