Gadsden County’s courthouse marked its 100th birthday Friday with an afternoon celebration on the courthouse lawn.
A good crowd was gathered including many elected and appointed officials, VFW Post members and county residents. Music and songs, including a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem, were performed to the enjoyment of the crowd.
The present courthouse building, the third since 1827, was built in 1912-13. Gadsden County Commission Chairman Eric Hinson read a proclamation passed by the county commission recognizing the anniversary.
County Clerk Nicholas Thomas said he surveyed other clerks around the state and found there’s great respect for what courthouses mean to communities. He said only a handful of courthouses in the state are as old as Gadsden’s and still functioning.
Circuit Judge Jim Shelfer said that when he travels the back roads of Georgia, all the towns have one thing in common, their courthouses. He said a courthouse is where people search for truth and justice. He called Gadsden’s courthouse “The Grand Old Lady.”
County Judge Kathy Garner said she was honored to share in the occasion and that courthouses needed community support to work effectively. She thanked the county commission for recently completing renovations to the building’s courtroom.
County Commissioner Brenda Holt said 100 years ago “it took all kinds of Gadsden County people to get this building here ” regardless of minorities and majorities.
Commissioner Doug Croley said Gadsden County was reflective of all who live here. He gave credit to Clerk Thomas for making everyone aware that the courthouse was 100 years old and said courthouses in the south were the heart of every community.
Commissioner Gene Morgan said the county was celebrating more than just an old building, but also its freedom. And Commissioner Sherrie Taylor said that on behalf of 40,000 county residents she was thankful for Gadsden’s courthouse building.
A time capsule was presented by Gadsden County Librarian Carolyn Poole that has been filled with an eclectic array of items from the county. She said the time capsule was in celebration of the courthouse and Viva Florida, the state’s 500th anniversary of Ponce De Leon’s arrival and Hernando de Soto’s travels through this area. The time capsule will be displayed at the county libraries and then buried in Quincy, she said. It will be reopened in 2063.
Following the ceremony cake and refreshments were enjoyed by those in attendance. A history of the courthouse was also presented in the main courtroom by local county historians Joe Munroe and Dawn McMillan.