Lincoln County Courthouse - Davenport, WA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
N 47° 39.315 W 118° 08.876
11T E 413801 N 5278622
Quick Description: Davenport was voted the Lincoln County seat in 1896 and quickly got to work building a courthouse.
Location: Washington, United States
Date Posted: 1/7/2019 1:37:38 PM
Waymark Code: WMZV7T
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
Views: 0

Long Description:
Completed in 1897, the courthouse soon proved inadequate, the north half being added in 1906. The cornerstone in the front, older half, of the courthouse, however, is dated 1906. When Lincoln county was created in 1883 Davenport was designated the county seat though its largest town was Sprague. After a vote, Davenport lost its status as county seat, but, in 1895 the town of Sprague was levelled by a fire. This led to the county seat's return to Davenport, where it remains today.

The American Guide Series book, Washington: a guide to the Evergreen state, in their Davenport entry, offers a bit of detail on the war between the towns of Davenport and Sprague over which should be the county seat. More detail is given further below in the history of The County Seat.

For 12 years, citizens of Davenport and Sprague contended for the county seat. An election held in 1884 resulted in more votes being cast than there were people in the two towns. It was charged that children and passengers on through trains voted, and that names were taken from the tombstones in cemeteries. Sprague won the election chiefly because it could import voters by railroad, while Davenport was forced to transport them by horseback. Davenport citizens threw breastworks around the courthouse and posted guards to prevent removal of county records, but Sprague forces obtained the ledgers when the local guards tired. In 1896, however, Davenport was made the county seat by legislative action.
From Washington: a guide to the Evergreen state
A timeline affixed to the building mentions that the courthouse was modernized in 1938, and terrazzo floors installed, at a cost of $49,000, quite a lot when one considers that the 1897 building cost only $12,000. We have yet to find reference to this being a WPA project. It also mentions that an arson fire burned the second storey and roof but the building was fully restored for its centennial in 1996.

Map goes Here Built of buff brick with stone and terra cotta trim, the Lincoln County courthouse has a hybrid character, its entry portico and cupola taken from copy books illustrating au courant Colonial Revival components, while the second floor fenestration suggests an origin in the Richardsonian Romanesque style popular for county courthouses across the US.
From Washington State

The County Seat
The territorial legislature created Lincoln County on November 1, 1883, naming Davenport as temporary county seat. This spurred a fight with the (then) much larger town of Sprague -- Davenport's few buildings had barely been constructed, and the nearest rail line was 30 miles away. Spragueans fumingly bore the slight for one year, then emerged victorious when the county seat question was put to the ballot in 1884. Davenporters at first refused to relinquish their years-worth of official records, but eventually were forced to do so by a raiding party from their rival town.

Sweet revenge came in 1896 when Davenport -- by then clearly the major town in Lincoln County -- regained the seat. Sprague had recently suffered a major conflagration that had nearly taken the town. (County records were spared) Davenport residents built a fine courthouse and county jail, and Sprague released the records.

The Lincoln County Courthouse, built high on the bluff overlooking Davenport in 1897, was an important center for all Lincoln County residents. Despite the removal of the iron fence surrounding its grounds to aid the war effort during World War II, the imposing courthouse building continued to serve county residents until the night of December 21, 1995, when it was gutted by fire. A local teen admitted setting the blaze and served a prison term. The courthouse was painstakingly restored to its original exterior appearance (including replacing the iron fence that sets off the lush grounds surrounding the building), and modernized in its interior. It reopened with fanfare only one year after the arson incident.
From History Link

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Book: Washington

Page Number(s) of Excerpt: 310

Year Originally Published: 1941

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