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Vernon Courthouse - Vernon, BC
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member BK-Hunters
N 50° 15.852 W 119° 15.977
11U E 338481 N 5570463
Quick Description: "Buy Local" would have been the watchword for the construction of the Vernon Courthouse. It was constructed, starting in April of 1912, of local granite, local marble, local bricks and local lumber.
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Date Posted: 1/7/2015 10:35:07 PM
Waymark Code: WMN70A
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Dunbar Loop
Views: 1

Long Description:
The people of Vernon are mighty proud of their courthouse, and rightly so. Once the largest courthouse outside of the BC mainland, it took two years to build, with construction beginning in 2012 and completion and a grand opening coming about on April 12, 1914.

Now a City of Vernon heritage property, when the courthouse turned 100 in April over 1,000 locals and dignitaries turned up at the open house to view their beloved courthouse and witness the centennial ceremonies.

Courthouse Courthouse
Courthouse Courthouse
Vernon Courthouse

3001 27th Street

The excavation for Vernon's second courthouse was begun in November, 1911 and construction started the following April. Designed by architect Thomas Hooper of Vancouver; this imposing Romanesque structure used local granite exterior veneer from the quarry on the east side of Okanagan Lake. Local brick was used for interior walls, along with B.C. marble for wainscotting and B.C. fir for interior trim. The total cost of construction was approximately $200.000. The first County Court meeting was held on opening day Dec. 17,1914.
From the Sign on the Building

100 years ago an unprecedented building was opened in the Okanagan. Designed by famous Vancouver and Victoria architect Thomas Hooper the new prize building of the interior, the Vernon Courthouse, opened its doors. Just over twenty years earlier the, now gone, Brick Courthouse was built in Vernon but due to the quick population growth it was no longer good enough.

MLA for Vernon at the time and Minister of Finance Price Ellison, (a famous Okanagan rancher with one of the largest wheat and stock farms in the area) made it his goal to have a new courthouse built in Vernon for the interior.

“In 1909, discussions began and in 1911 funds were appropriated. Vernon was the first courthouse of 10 major buildings to be built in the interior.”

When the building was completed it not only housed courtrooms but also government offices for a number of departments.

In a November 1911 edition of the Vernon News they explain the building plans:
“The building will be two stories high with a basement the full size of the building. It will contain ample accommodation for courtrooms, government offices, the fire warden, school inspector, horticultural officers and other departments connected with provincial affairs. It will be constructed with fine red granite from the quarries below Okanagan Landing and will the largest, handsomest and most costly government building in the interior.”

“The way the building was constructed is largely reinforced concrete, the floors are 12 inches thick so it is really sturdy building.”

The courthouse was built by John Burns & Son of Nelson and measured 150 feet by 75 feet at a cost of $198,876, a stark difference to the Brick Courthouse of 1892 that cost only $8,192 and was 54 feet by 47 feet with a tin roof and brick.

“I think $200,000 was an awful lot of money back in those days considering you could buy a house for $500,” laughed Culos.

100 carloads of granite, 4,000,000 bricks, 3,000 yards of gravel, 12 carloads of cement, one carload of reinforced steel and 4,000 feet of pipe conduits were used in its construction.

The building was meant to be reminiscent of a Greek temple, with grandiose columns and an imposing granite facade. Inside there is BC and Italian marble, ornate woodwork and the grand two story courtroom and balcony.
From Castanet

Type of Marker: Cultural

Type of Sign: Historic Site or Building Marker

Describe the parking that is available nearby: Street and parking lot at rear of building

What Agency placed the marker?: City of Vernon

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