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Fletcher Martin Bas Reliefs - Bonners Ferry, ID
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member BK-Hunters
N 48° 41.763 W 116° 18.833
11U E 550489 N 5393895
Quick Description: A project of the WPA, this art deco courthouse was completed in 1940. Its façade contains three bas relief panels designed by Fletcher Martin, one of only four of his WPA art projects known in Idaho.
Location: Idaho, United States
Date Posted: 6/15/2014 2:06:45 PM
Waymark Code: WMKYH7
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Geojeepsters
Views: 0

Long Description:
The three reliefs, each made up of three separate stone panels, are mounted high above the main entrance on the front elevation of the courthouse. Depicted are scenes of miners, a lumberman and a farmer, referring to the three staple industries of the area.

The centre panel is inscribed thus across its full width:
W.P.A. So. California Art Project 1940 Designed by Fletcher Martin
The Boundary County Courthouse is significant under criterion "A" in the context of the development of county government as supported by WPA and PWA monies throughout the Depression years. The building is significant under criterion "C" in the context of the architecture of Idaho's county courthouses and as a local example of institutional architecture. The building retains its original massing and most of its Art Deco style features, including its concrete walls, decorative bas reliefs, and fenestration. The remaining original fabric conveys the important characteristics of Art Deco style, and the building conveys a sense of the period in which it was built as a late WPA project. The bas reliefs by Fletcher Martin are among only eight WPA public art projects identified in Idaho surveys.

Because the building is part of a finite and endangered group of resources associated with the WPA in Idaho and because it is associated with a relief program that had exceptional impact on the Idaho landscape and economy during the Depression years, the building is presented for nomination before it reaches the 50 year mark. Boundary County received support from the WPA regional office in Portland, Oregon, for construction of a new courthouse after an initial NIRA grant of $16,646 was rescinded. The courthouse was completed in 1940. As significant as the building itself is the set of three bas relief panels designed by Fletcher Martin, one of four WPA public art works identified in Idaho to date. Martin, a former resident of Emmett, Idaho, was based in Los Angeles before he succeeded Thomas Hart Benton as head of Kansas City Art Institute's department of painting and drawing. In Idaho, he designed the initial concept of Ada County Courthouse murals and the Kellogg Post Office murals. Neither project met with his satisfaction, and the Boundary County bas reliefs remain our best example of his Idaho work.

Like most of Idaho's county courthouses, the Boundary courthouse is the most ambitious and stylistically elaborate architectural design of its era, in its locality and its region, and deserves National Register listing on that basis as well as for its contribution to our understanding of the range of architectural designs used for courthouses in Idaho.
From the Idaho Historical Society

Project type: Sculpture/Statue

Date built or created: 1940

Location: Boundary County Courthouse

City: Bonners Ferry, ID

Condition: Pristine condition

Website for additional information: [Web Link]

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