Because the interior had been so changed over the years, few historic elements remained, and they decided that an exact re-creation would not be possible. Instead, the designers opted to create functional and elegant space, inspired by and reflecting the woodwork and furnishings of the period.
They redid all the window frames and lowered the floor in the basement. There were three old vaults where records had been stored, stacked one on top of the other, where they were able to save the graceful arches while opening up the space for better use. On the main floor, this area now houses the Cache County visitor's bureau.
They recessed window blinds, so they could keep the window arches — "that idea came to me in the middle of the night," said Daines.
The old court room, once more opened up to full size, is now the County Council meeting room and is graced by chairs imported from Italy and upholstered in material that Jean Daines chose. "We didn't want them to look like dining-room chairs," she says.
An old safe that was found in the basement was cleaned and restored and is now a showpiece on the main floor. "They had to have moved that safe in before the building was finished," says Newel Daines. "It wouldn't fit through any of the doors."
He is also particularly proud of the spiral staircase leading to the cupola. "Originally, this was a closet, with a ladder."
That ladder connected to the wood stairway into the cupola, and it was on those steps that Daines almost literally gave his heart to the courthouse project. "I was up there when I had a medical problem with my heart. I sat there and rested for an hour before climbing down the ladder. That was the last day before I had a new valve put in my heart. I really thought I might die up there."
Luckily for him and his family, and for the old courthouse, he was soon back on the job.
Throughout the project, quality was a prime concern. "All the HVAC, plumbing, electrical systems and fixtures, wall surfaces, doors, hardware, floor coverings are new and state-of-the-art, so this building should have the same life expectancy as a new building — while preserving a valley landmark," says Daines.
Although they got a substantial donation from the Eccles Foundation and raised other funds, "we got to the end, and we were short of money, so my kids all chipped in and came up with another $100,000 so we could finish it like we wanted," he says.
Other donations also helped. An elegant grandfather clock was a gift of the S.E. Needham Co. Local artist Kent Wallis painted a view of Cache Valley especially for the building. It makes a nice addition to the Minerva Teichert and Everett Thorpe paintings which also grace the walls, Daines says.
Of the project, Jean Daines says, "it was sometimes fun and sometimes a nightmare. But we feel good when we come and see how it turned out."
Newel Daines sees himself as simply "a builder who wanted to do something for downtown Logan."
He remembers coming to the old courthouse in the 1930s, when his dad served as the county attorney. He has a son who has held that same position. He takes pride in the fact that the Cache County Courthouse is one of, if not the, longest-continuing-operation government buildings in Utah.
And it is once again a "fine and imposing structure" engendering pride, connection and vitality.
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