Hundreds of people climbed the new concrete steps of the "old library" on Jan. 19, 2001, stepping through its new, brass-accented wooden doors to attend a preview of the 1927 structure's new life, an event that raised about $3,000 for the Bonner County Historical Society and Bonner Community Hospice.
Built to house the Sandpoint post office and other federal offices, the building served that purpose for 40 years, then was home for the library for 30 years. Roger Jones and his wife, Sherill Bottjer, who are frequent visitors to this area, purchased it from the library district in September 2000. Their plan was to restore it to the style of 1927 and lease it to one or more tenants.
The initial restoration has focused on the exterior and on the main floor, where soft shades of green and peach harmonize with dark wainscoting, a hardwood floor and historically accurate lighting. Renovation of the top floor and basement so far are minimal, allowing future tenants some latitude.
The exterior remodeling process uncovered a "stamp" from the building's birth: The white marble cornerstone in the northeast corner is carved with the inscription, "A W Mellon / Secretary of the Treasury / James A Wetmore / Acting Supervising Architect / 1927." The cornerstone is now exposed, providing a testament of the building's roots.
-- Laurel Wagers