|DAVID E. JENSEN
103 PACIFIC AVE S
POST OFFICE BOX 6
LONG BEACH, WA 98631
Pacific County Courthouse
Pacific County’s Courthouse Building sits high above South Bend Washington, overlooking the Willapa River. In 1992 David Jensen’s firm was commissioned to execute exterior restoration of the historic classic Beaux-Arts Courthouse. Built in 1910, the clad copper dome rests above a series of clerestory windows. Light spills through these windows and the round skylight atop the dome illuminating the art glass interior dome that adorns the courthouse rotunda.
Over the years the dome-top finial had been coated with tar and the dome had been covered with asphalt shingles. Jensen’s firm restored the exterior dome and roof by removing the asphalt shingles and re-cladding with copper panels. The original art glass interior dome was also restored. The broken solder and glass was cleaned and repaired restoring the dome to its former glory.
In an amazing twist of fate, antique art glass was located for the dome restoration. The glass company doing the restoration work placed a classified ad seeking antique glass in a California newspaper. A San Francisco woman responded to the ad. She had several cases of glass that were among the contents of a warehouse she had recently purchased. The woman was willing to sell the glass but wanted to know where the glass would be used. After being told it would be used in a Washington State courthouse; she wanted to know which courthouse. When told South Bend, the woman revealed a truly remarkable coincidence; she had grown up in South Bend, Washington and remembered the courthouse. The woman then decided to donate the glass, which upon examination turned out to be an exact match to the existing glass.
The exterior of the building was stripped of many coats of paint (perhaps 10-15) and recoated the original colors. In addition, the historic windows were refurbished. Unseen, but equally important, the building received a seismic upgrade.
Next time you find yourself in South Bend, take a moment to stop by the courthouse. Even on a cloudy day, the art glass dome diffuses a golden light thorough the rotunda. It is memorable.