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Historic courthouse gets new lease on life

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POSTED: October 19, 2012 12:27 p.m.
Photo by Danielle Hipps/

Liberty County officials cut the ribbon Thursday to mark the rededication of the historic Liberty County Courthouse, which was built in 1926.

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The historic Liberty County Courthouse is back in business, and leaders gathered Thursday morning to rededicate the structure.
Liberty County Cultural and Historic Resources Committee Chairman Randy Branch spoke about the role of courthouses, which he said stand for “the observance of law.”
“This is a great day in Liberty County history, preserving and restoring a historic building,” Branch said. “Every day throughout the country, buildings are destroyed. People think sometimes their lives might be over, but through hard work and renovation, they certainly can be reused, readapted and go forward.”
The building is the second to stand in the same location, selected in 1836 by four commissioners and made possible through the General Assembly. Hinesville also marks the third county seat for Liberty, behind Sunbury, established as the seat in 1783, and Riceboro in 1798.
“The first courthouse built here was in 1837,” Branch said. “It was a two-story structure and it served them 90 years.”
The former building was brought down around 1925 and the new one constructed in 1926. Additions and alterations were made in 1964.  
County Administrator Joey Brown spoke about the building’s quirks, such as inconsistent door sizes and the honey bees that colonized a soffit.
“There is no doorway or door in this building that is exactly the same size,” Brown said. “I think when they were building it, the addition sometime later, I can envision a worker out there saying, ‘Just make it fit — cut it down to make it fit. If it will close and lock, then we’re good to go.’”
The building once housed all county functions, including the board of education and district attorney, Brown said. Repairs were needed for structural issues and due to weathering of elements like windows.
“What we came out with after the project is a building that is structurally sound,” Brown said. “It will be in use for a long time. It is more user-friendly now, we think.”
Commission Chairman John McIver estimated the work cost $2.2 million and was supplemented with a $195,000 efficiency grant from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority.
McIver and Brown both thanked taxpayers for their support of SPLOST, which funded the project.


 

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