Garfield County Courthouse
The face of Pomeroy’s Main Street has change dramatically since the town was settled in the late 1800′s. Perhaps the most eye-catching structure on Main Street is the Garfield County Courthouse. The original wood-frame courthouse, located on the same site as the present structure, was destroyed by fire in 1900. This fire consumed the core of the Pomeroy business district. Fortunately, most of the records were stored safely in fireproof vaults.
In November of that year, a special election was held to vote on a bond issue for $20,000 to construct a new building. The County Commissioners opened bids on March 3, 1901 and awarded the contract to August Ilse of Spokane.
The contracted price of $18,783, while certainly a bargain by today’s standards, was also a good deal back then. This eye-catching brick and stone building could be built for that price due to the low costs of labor and materials. The stone used in the Courthouse was quarried from the Valentine area, near the Snake River.
The Garfield County Courthouse was placed on the National Register on July 24, 1974, by the National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. It was noted that “this property possesses exceptional value in commemorating or illustrating American history.”
Pomeroy Main Street
The Great Pomeroy Fire to place on July 18, 1900 and originated in E.J. Rice’s Saloon from a gas light generator. While Rice was replenishing the tank, a quantity of gasoline was spilled on the floor, and gasoline had also been poured into an open vessel. Someone inadvertently struck a match, the vaporized gasoline was ignited, and a sheet of flame spread throughout the wooden structure almost instantly. Two horse carts and a hook and ladder arrived quickly, but the streams of water poured upon the flaming building had little effect. The fire was spreading rapidly and goods were removed from all buildings eastward of the conflagration as far as the Tidwell Livery Stable at the corner of Fifth and Main.
Fanned by a stiff gale from the west, the fire made short work of the wooden courthouse, then located on the present courthouse grounds. All businesses were destroyed east on the north side of Main Street, except the blacksmith shop of Krouse & Hoffman, T.E. Benbow’s Wagon Shop, and the Black Building, which is still standing. The South side was swept clean.
Prior to the fire, the City Council of Pomeroy had passed an ordinance placing substantially all of the area devastated by the fire, as well as other sections bordering Main Street, in what was commonly termed “The Fire Limits,” prohibiting the construction of buildings except of fire-proof material.
Immediately following the fire, some of the owners whose buildings had been destroyed, requested the city to amend or repeal the fire limit ordinances so as to permit the erection of wooden buildings in the burned out area. Pomeroy’s then Mayor, Judge Kuykendall, stood firm with the ordinance and Pomeroy’s Main Street was rebuilt fire-proof.
The City Park was purchased in 1901 from the Governor Cosgrove estate for the fair price of $600.00. It included large clumps of black willow trees which were native to the area. The remainder of the ground was largely covered by a jungle of undergrowth, which was later cleared and the trees now standing were planted. While the trees were growing on the park site, the ground was rented for a time to A.H. Mendenhall who grew fine crops of potatoes and saw to the trees.
About 1904 or 1905 the trees were large enough to provide considerable shade and the public began to use the park. The city officials had the ground leveled and seeded to bluegrass.
Many parts of the park have changed since then. Tennis courts were added about 1935 with the City of Pomeroy providing the materials and a group of young men providing the labor. The park now contains swings, a slide, rings and a merry-go-round for children, as well as a gazebo and covered picnic area for everyone to enjoy.
Located at 15th & Arlington
Municipal Golf Course
Pomeroy’s golf course is city-owned and operated under the city’s parks department. It is located on the southeastern edge of town between 15th and 18th streets along tree-lined Arlington Avenue. The clubhouse is open between April and November, but many golfers continue to play year-round.
The course itself is a 2,033-yard par 31 challenge. The absence of traditional water hazards and sand traps is offset with tough driving holes and some hilly terrain. Limited space during construction in the mid 1930′s only allowed for five par 3 holes and four par 4 holes.
Pomeroy now has a modern, nine hole course with all grass greens, and fairways, and is considered by many visiting golf fans a very sporty course. Much favorable comment is also heard on the neat and efficient manner in which the course is maintained.
Tee times for the course are not required, as the course has very few regularly reserved times, and passes are very reasonably priced. Cart and club rentals are also available. For more information call the clubhouse at (509)843-1197.
Located on 1600 & Arlington, Phone: (509) 843-1197
Public Swimming Pool
Before the City Pool was built, young people from Pomeroy would build dams and create pools below town in which to disport themselves. Efforts were made to discourage the boys from paddling around in the not-so-sanitary water of the creek, but the temptation was too strong to be resisted. Groups of boys would go to the city council meetings and civic organizations, and pathetically appeal for the construction of a swimming pool. The American Legion was the first group to respond.
At the Armistice Day celebration, November 11, 1919, that organization put on a campaign to raise money to be applied in the construction of a swimming pool. This commendable effort netted about $500.
In 1920 the club asked the City Council to join them in the purchase of the Cosgrove Spring as a water supply for the pool, together with the block of land on which the pool now stands. The land was purchased for $4000; $2000 of which was furnished by the Ladies’ Civic Improvement Club and $2000 by the City of Pomeroy.
With concession money, funds obtained from other sources, and by the sale of life and season tickets entitling purchasers to the benefits of the pool, the swimming pool was completed in 1922 at a cost of $5,200, including the buildings, piping, fences, walks, etc.
Located on 18th & Arlington