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Davis Journal

Original Dowdle puzzle depicting Davis County unveiled at courthouse ribbon cutting

Jun 16, 2022 09:01AM ● By Becky Ginos

Confetti flies as commissioners and other officials unveil Eric Dowdle's painting and puzzle. This is the first time the well-known folk artist has featured a county. Photo by Roger V. Tuttle

FARMINGTON—It was a big day last week as officials cut the ribbon on the newly renovated Davis County Memorial Courthouse. The two-year renovation project combined restored elements with some historical fixtures. 

The courthouse has gone through several renovations since it was built in 1890 and has now been restored to its 1930s glory. 

“In 1890 it was a Victorian red brick building,” said Davis County Facilities Management Director Lane Rose. “In 1930 they took off the roof and knocked down a couple of walls and built around it.” 

In 1958 and 1979 additions to the courthouse were made. The recent renovation removed those additions, renovated the original historic 1930s section and exposed brick from the original 1890 courthouse.

“Historically what’s preserved is the facade, marble in the corridors, tiles and finishes,” Rose said. “We worked with CRSA architects that have significant experience in restoring old historic buildings. The records department was critical in finding historical information.”

There are a handful of items that are really historical, he said. “We’re matching colors from historic photos. It’s more of a replication rather than preserving historic elements that have been remodeled.”

For the last 20 years it's been one big building, said Rose. “The commissioners wanted a nice plaza out of that space (where the additions were removed). It’s been in the works ever since we built the Administration building.”

The 8-foot stained glass window from the 1930s will remain and sit above the war memorial in honor of those who served from Davis County.

Other renovations included bringing back the 1930’s courtroom floor space, exposing ceiling joists and recreating the corbels. “The corbels are actually cast from the originals,” he said. “They used horse hair as binders and we found some in the ceiling.”

In addition to the historical pieces of the courthouse, something new was added – an original painting/puzzle by Eric Dowdle that showcases what makes the county a fun and beautiful place to visit. Discover Davis, the tourism brand for Davis County commissioned Dowdle to create the work with the intent of producing Discover Davis puzzles with at least one thing that represents each of the 15 cities in the community. The puzzle also includes popular attractions, historical favorites and iconic people. 

Dowdle attended the unveiling on June 9 and talked about the inspiration behind the piece. “We also had the painting made into a 4’x5’ puzzle for the event and had 18 puzzle pieces missing,” said Jessica Merrill, Discover Davis Tourism Director. “Eric then invited a representative from each of 15 cities along with our three commissioners to come up and place their puzzle piece in their right spot to complete the puzzle.”

Merrill said Dowdle puzzles helped her, like many others, get through the pandemic. “As I did puzzle after puzzle, I was completely envious of all the destinations that had their own masterpiece for families to discover and enjoy through art. Ultimately, this started an 18 month journey of working with Eric Dowdle and his team to create a Davis County original painting, a first of its kind (he has never done a county before). On June 9, we were finally able to reveal a Discover Davis, Dowdle Folk Art painting with puzzles soon to follow.”

It was such a fun project to work on and have come to life, she said. “We can’t wait for families from all over to experience our destination through art and then hopefully be inspired to come visit us to enjoy our attractions in person.” 

To purchase the 16x20, 500 piece puzzle visit l