Skip to main content

Remarkable Men Lend Names to Courthouse

December 17, 2012

On the morning of December 17, GSA, elected officials, local leaders, and citizens commemorated the naming of the Ft. Pierce Courthouse in Florida for the distinguished jurist Alto Lee Adams, Sr. The event included the naming of the building’s atrium for former Mayor and civic leader, Dr. William R. Dannahower.

Judge Adams graduated from the University of Florida Law School in 1921 at 22 years of age. He served the legal profession for the next five decades as both lawyer and jurist. He passed away in 1988 at the age of 89 leaving a legacy of distinguished service as lawyer, judge, businessman, author, and civic leader. The Courthouse that now bears his name occupies a prominent place in downtown Ft. Pierce. Located on Highway 1, the multi-story glass lobby faces the city’s main thoroughfare. While other sites were considered, the partnership that developed between GSA, elected officials and city leaders saw this site as part of a larger vision of a renewed and rejuvenated downtown Ft. Pierce.

The realization of this dream is in no small measure the result of the tireless efforts of its former mayor, Dr. William R. Dannahower. After practicing dentistry for 32 years, he turned his attention to politics and community service. He was elected Mayor in 1965 and again in 1983, holding office for the next 12 years until this retirement in 1995. As far back as 1987, Mayor Dannahower rallied city leaders around the idea of having a federal courthouse in Ft. Pierce.

For Dr. Dannahower, leaving public office did not mean leaving public service. In 1995, he chaired a taskforce of political, business and civic leaders to pursue the city’s dream of building a new Courthouse for the citizens of Ft. Pierce. The naming of its Atrium in his honor is a fitting tribute to his determination and love of community.

The building is as remarkable as the men for which it’s named. The site is part and parcel of the city’s downtown renewal and provides a powerful visual connection to the coastal environment – the upper two floors provide a dramatic view of the Atlantic Ocean.  The Courthouse also has a powerful connection with the art and architecture of the region it serves. Reinforced masonry units, covered with stucco, celebrate the architectural traditions of South Florida and help to preserve the character and charm that earned downtown Ft. Pierce the Great American Main Street Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. In addition, locally manufactured construction materials improved the project’s environmental footprint while creating jobs for the local economy. The project received the LEED Gold certification from US Green Building Council and the 2012 Construction Management Project Achievement Award from the Construction Management Association America (CMAA).

The Dannahower Atrium features a 20 foot high by 10 foot wide canvas entitled Judicial Balance/Cultural Law that graces the North Wall; on the South Wall a similarly sized painting entitled Judicial Balance/Natural Justice overlooks the main lobby with visual access from numerous vantage points on the upper floors. 

Links for further information:

Treasure Coast Palm Article on Naming Ceremony (Dec. 17, 2012)

Award Article in Treasure Coast Palm (Nov. 19, 2012) (Fifth entry in list)

Full list of CMAA’s 2012 Project Achievement Awards


Ismael Santana
(305) 536-4020

Gregory Andrews
(404) 562-0280

Naming, ceremony, Ft. Pierce, Florida, Alto, Adams, Dannahower, Atrium, dedication, event, Southeast Sunbelt,