Tag Archives: North Georgia Courthouses

Bibb County Courthouse, 1924, Macon

Curran R. Ellis’s Bibb County Courthouse was remodeled by the WPA in 1940. It’s the fourth courthouse to serve the county since 1825.

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --BIBB COUNTY GA--, Macon GA

Dade County Courthouse, 1926, Trenton

Dade County was created on Christmas Day 1837. The date of the construction of the first courthouse is unknown, but it burned in April 1853. Soon replaced, it, too was victim to fire, this time at the hands of Union troops in November 1863. The next courthouse was built in 1869 and accounts of its demise are unclear. One source states that it burned in 1895, while another notes that was demolished when the present courthouse was built.

Due to its geographical isolation from the rest of Georgia, Dade County was sometimes noted for its separatist views. It was long believed that a group of impatient Dade County citizens publicly announced their secession from both Georgia and the United States, in 1860; in reality, they seceded with the rest of the state. But the legend of the “State of Dade” was born. In 1945, President Truman even sent a telegram congratulating the county on “rejoining” the Union. When the Georgia state quarter was issued in 1999, the controversy was briefly revisited. The map on the quarter was missing its extreme northwestern corner, which is the location of Dade County.

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --DADE COUNTY GA--, Trenton GA

Walker County Courthouse, 1918, LaFayette

When Walker County was created in 1835, no provision was made for a county seat, but the designation soon went to the town of Chattooga. The town’s name was changed to LaFayette in 1836 and the first courthouse was built in 1838. It burned in 1883 and was replaced with a brick courthouse, which served until construction of the present structure was completed in 1918. Charles E. Bearden was the architect.

Walker County, along with Bartow, Bleckley, Chattooga, Murray, Pulaski, Towns, and Union, is one of the last remaining counties in the United States to utilize the “sole commissioner” form of government. Controversial due to the fact that one official holds all the executive and legislative powers of the county, the system has recently been criticized by state legislators. In almost all counties with this system, however, there are public meetings to allow community input.

National Register of Historic Places

 

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Filed under --WALKER COUNTY GA--, LaFayette GA

Haralson County Courthouse, 1892, Buchanan

Designed by the Atlanta architectural firm of Bruce & Morgan, Haralson County’s historic Queen Anne courthouse is a sight to behold and a wonderful anchor for this small downtown. Though a more modern courthouse was built in 1972, this structure still serves the public as a library.

I’d like to thank Donnie Boswell for his hospitality during my brief visit and for sharing some of the history of Buchanan. He serves as the Main Street Affiliate Representative for Buchanan and is very enthusiastic about his community. He also let me know that the town name is pronounced buck-hanon not bew-canon.

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --HARALSON COUNTY GA--, Buchanan GA

Main Street, Gibson

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Filed under --GLASCOCK COUNTY GA--, Gibson GA

Old Lumpkin County Courthouse, 1836, Dahlonega

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This is the oldest public building in North Georgia and the oldest extant courthouse in Georgia in its original form (the old Government House in Augusta is older, though heavily modified). Even before the courthouse was built, Dahlonega’s prominence was validated by the government, which authorized a branch mint here in 1835. (Gold had been “discovered” in the region in 1828 with a rush of prospectors into the Cherokee Nation, in which Dahlonega was located, following in 1829). Ephraim Clayton employed bricks made from Cane Creek, a mile away, in the construction of the courthouse. A branch of the United States Mint was opened just south of the courthouse in 1838. By 1849, many of Dahlonega’s miners were bound for California and other points west lured by the promise of more abundant gold. After serving as the courthouse for over 125 years, the building was given to the state in 1966 and now serves as the Dahlonega Gold Museum.

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National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --LUMPKIN COUNTY GA--, Dahlonega GA

Banks County Courthouse, Circa 1863, Homer

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The date of construction for this iconic courthouse is difficult to track down. In the nomination of the property to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, it was said to have been begun in 1860 and completed in 1875. Brothers John and Samuel Pruitt were noted as the builders. More recent scholarship (I assume) by Elizabeth B. Cooksey in the New Georgia Encylopedia notes: (the) first courthouse was built in 1863, reportedly with $6,600 in Confederate currency. Either date ensures that slave labor was integral to the construction; completion of public architecture during the Civil War seems extraordinary. Confusion aside, it’s one of the most beautiful courthouses in Georgia. Replaced by a modern courthouse on an adjacent lot in 1987, it now serves as a museum, with very limited hours.

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National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --BANKS COUNTY GA--, Homer GA