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Sandpoint Federal Building - Sandpoint, ID
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member BK-Hunters
N 48° 16.615 W 116° 32.935
11U E 533468 N 5347177
Quick Description: Though money was initially appropriated for a federal building for Sandpoint in 1913, economic reversals delayed the actual start of its construction until April of 1927. Sold by the government in 2000, it is now owned by First American Title.
Location: Idaho, United States
Date Posted: 6/17/2014 12:40:44 AM
Waymark Code: WMKYT1
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Dorcadion Team
Views: 0

Long Description:
When considering a federal building one naturally expects to find rather impressive entranceways. This federal building doesn't disappoint, with its pair of heavy arched stone casings surrounding deeply recessed glazed hardwood doors with brass hardware. At each doorway casing's keystone is a terra cotta shield and each door is topped with a large semicircular transom with sunburst glazing.
Sandpoint waited a long time for its federal building. Congress passed an omnibus public buildings appropriations bill in 1913 that included $70,000 for a new post office in the Idaho panhandle town. Within a couple of months, the Treasury Department accepted bids on possible sites, but it did not make a final selection until 1916 when it chose three lots at the corner of Second Avenue and Alder Street. L. D. Farmin, who had initially owned much of the Sandpoint townsite, had offered these lots for $4,000 in 1913.

Following this selection, the project lay dormant for ten years. High prices during World War I were followed by a weak economy during the recession of the early 1920s, leaving the federal government without sufficient funds for most public works projects. The economy recovered, however, and the project revived late in 1926 with a call for bids on a building measuring approximately 76 feet by 79 feet. George Griffiths Construction Company of St. Louis, Missouri, was awarded the contract in December 1926, with its bid of $76,500. Apparently the price exceeded the appropriation and the Treasury Department issued new specifications in late January 1927. These cut the building to 54 feet by 77 feet, with a one-story rear wing measuring 19 feet by 27 feet. The major reduction in size necessitated new bids from contractors. This time, the contract was awarded to W. D. Lovell of Minneapolis for his bid of $73,300.

Construction began in April 1927 under the supervision of H. W. Sedvert. Poor weather in the spring caused some delays, but the pace of work soon picked up. Wall construction with brick and terra cotta was completed by mid-August, and roof construction with steel beams quickly followed. The brick came from the kilns at Clayton, Washington, near Spokane. Lumber used in the building came from Humbird Lumber Company, a local mill. Crowds of people flocked to see the new Sandpoint Federal Building when it opened for the public in March 1928, with more than 1,000 people in the first hour alone.

The initial occupants of the new federal building included the post office on the main floor; the U. S. Forest Service on much of the second floor; and the Internal Revenue Service, civil service, and military recruiter in the basement. In addition, the post office had offices and a "swing" room in the south wing of the second floor which provided an area for carriers and other postal employees to rest; it also included a shower room for carriers. The comparable room in the north wing served as the office of the Forest Service supervisor. Following completion of a new post office in 1967, the East Bonner County Library moved into the old post office. It remained there until the opening of the new library building in April, 2000. The building stood vacant until its sale to the current owner later that year. Renovation has been ongoing for much of 2000 and early 2001.

The Spanish Colonial Revival Style is easily recognized in the Sandpoint Federal Building. It has many of the hallmarks of the style, including: hipped, shallow-pitched, red tile roof, iron window balconets, an enclosed arcaded porch, brick walls, and highlighted window surrounds. Although the symmetrical form with slightly projecting side wings is more reminiscent of the Renaissance Revival style, the building's Spanish Colonial Revival detailing dominates the stylistic definition.

Aside from the uncommon style, the Federal Building stands out from other Sandpoint buildings in its extensive use of exterior decorative detail. Most of the other buildings in the commercial district date from the first two decades of the twentieth century and are constructed in the simpler commercial style common to the era. The buildings are all brick, with simple brick or cast stone trim. A few have metal cornices, but most are brick. The Federal Building, designed by a national architect, provides contrast with its extensive unglazed terra cotta decoration, elaborate arched windows, pilaster capitals with gargoyles, and tile roof. It is locally significant as an excellent example of an important period architectural style.
From the Idaho Historical Society


Type of material of the door: Wood

Functional door?: Yes

Location of this door/way: On private property

Is it accessable only by paid admission": No

Style: Other

Address or physical location:
419 North Second Avenue Sandpoint, ID USA 83864


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