Preserving historic buildings is vital to understanding our nation’s heritage and respecting past generations. This is especially true in May, which is Historic Preservation Month. The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is the guardian of more than 400 historic buildings across the country and there was no better time to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the opening of the James A. Redden U.S. Courthouse, a three-story brick building in Medford, Oregon.
Medford was in a building boom when the new federal building was proposed in 1910. In 1916, the construction of the Courthouse was completed under the supervision of architect Oscar Wenderoth. The $110,000 brick American Renaissance Revival style building originally housed the post office, a courtroom, legal offices and chambers, and the Crater Lake National Park offices. In 1940, a substantial extension was completed under the supervision of architect, Louis A. Simon that doubled the size of the symmetrical plan to the back of the building with arched windows and a stone balustrade and cornice for $230,000—doubling the price of the original building. The building today still retains most of its original exterior and inside you can view the original courtroom.
In 1996, GSA dedicated the Courthouse in honor of the Honorable James A. Redden, Jr., Senior District Judge, District of Oregon, who spent part of his early law years in Medford and served six years in the Oregon House. He also served as state treasurer and attorney general. On Thursday May 5, 2016, GSA and the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon celebrated the centennial of this community treasure. Redden gave remarks at the ceremony and a public open house followed the formal program.
GSA takes its mission of providing timeless design, architecture and construction seriously. As builders and operators of federal buildings, GSA has an obligation to ensure the buildings it creates reflect the importance of serving the public and reaching beyond functionality, to foster a sense of community and instill the trust essential to making our democracy successful. It’s an honor when GSA has the opportunity to make federal space available in support of cultural and educational activities such as this commemoration.
Click here for more information about GSA’s Historic Preservation Program.