Excerpted from HistoryLink.org Essay #8019 by Eric L. Flom Photos by Todd Timmcke
port a ballot measure to move the county seat from Ephrata to
their town, a measure that was defeated at the polls. Seven years
later, Adrian was apparently still licking those wounds when locals file a pair of lawsuits against County Commissioners White
and Theimans alleging that both stood to gain financially from
the courthouse resolution. The effort is chalked up to long-held
grudges, and a judge dismisses the lawsuits less than three
weeks after they were filed.
Members of the Ephrata Masonic Lodge lay the cornerstone
for the new Grant County Courthouse in July 1917. With plans
drawn up by architect George Keith, the new courthouse is designed in a classical revival style, with a concrete, brick, and
terra-cotta exterior, complete with columns and ornate cornices.
Described as an “imposing structure” as it was being erected,
the building is slated to cost Grant County a total of $63,263.
Today the Grant County Courthouse stands on C Street NW
and continues to serve as the center of local government. In 1977,
it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. N WL
Sources available at http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?
Grant County Courthouse
On Feb. 24, 1909, Lieutenant Governor Marion E. Hay (1865–1933), acting on behalf of Washington State Governor Samuel G. Cosgrove (1841–1909), signs legislation splitting Douglas County in half to create a smaller Douglas County and the new
Grant County, located in the Columbia Basin region of Central
Washington. Introduced as House Bill 661, the measure passes
the Washington State House of Representatives on Feb. 9 and
wins Senate approval six days later. Ephrata is named as the
county seat. Within weeks, the original Grant County Board of
Commissioners convenes to begin establishing a new government with a top priority being the erection of a courthouse. The
first courthouse was of modest construction and quickly became
outdated with the growth of the county.
A courthouse measure passes on April 12, 1917, authorizing
the purchase of two city blocks in downtown Ephrata for the development and construction of the new building. Yet although
the commissioners seem to have Grant County’s best interests
at hand when the resolution passes, a few citizens in the town
of Adrian don’t see it that way. In 1910, citizens of Adrian sup-