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Kay Mathews DeFrancesco, Rathdrum is the winner!

The courthouse in Pierce is the answer for Week 268 of Orofino History Trivia a special feature to celebrate the history and heritage of Clearwater Country.

Join in the discovery!

Monday: On a hill

Tuesday: Made of wood

Wednesday: Originally built for another county

Thursday: Served as a band room until a new school was built

Friday: The first in Idaho

The Pierce Courthouse, Idaho's oldest, was completed in August of 1962 at a cost of $3,700. The two-story frame structure had a two-cell jail and courthouse. Each small cell had a a four by ten inch hole to let in light and air. With the base timbers a foot square and the two-inch plank and heavy shake roof this sturdy structure has stood well over a century on its original location.

Discovery of gold in September 1860 brought a rush of thousands of miners the next spring. Created Jan. 9, 1861, the new county, Shoshone, cast the most votes in Washington Territory a the time. A year later, the county commissioners decided to build a courthouse.

After the gold rush, only a few people remained in Pierce and by 1880 Shoshone County was hard pressed to get out 40 voters. Then the Coeur d'Alene gold rush brought miners north.

When the county seat was moved north to Murray in 1885, Ed Hammond bought the courthouse. He used it as a residence. Other people owned it over the years and it was used for other purposes such meetings, as a band room and etc. Mrs. Henry Spencer Lawson arranged for it to be preserved as Idaho's oldest public building. Leonard Cardiff donated it to state and it became a part of the Nez Perce National Historical Park. It is administered by the Idaho State Historical Society.

(Photo courtesy of Clearwater Historical Museum)

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Window on the Clearwater
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