Alamance County Courthouse

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Alamance County Courthouse
Alamance County Courthouse and Confederate Memorial from NE Corner.jpg
Alamance County Courthouse From NE Corner
Alamance County Courthouse is located in North Carolina
Alamance County Courthouse
Location Courthouse Square, Graham, North Carolina
Coordinates 36°4′9″N 79°24′2″W / 36.06917°N 79.40056°W / 36.06917; -79.40056Coordinates: 36°4′9″N 79°24′2″W / 36.06917°N 79.40056°W / 36.06917; -79.40056
Area less than one acre
Built 1923
Architect Harry Barton
Architectural style Classical Revival
Governing body Local
MPS North Carolina County Courthouses TR
NRHP Reference # 79001655[1]
Added to NRHP May 10, 1979

The Alamance County Courthouse in Graham, North Carolina, was built in 1923. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.[1]

History[edit]

Alamance County has had several courthouses throughout its history.

Original Court[edit]

The original Alamance County Courthouse, circa 1910. Note the cupola that housed the bell.

The county's founding in 1849 was held at the Providence Meeting House in what would eventually become the Town of Graham. The Orange County Courts had held court here to serve the needs of the western half of the county prior to the founding of Alamance County in 1849. The first Court Session was held in June 1849.[2]

First Courthouse[edit]

On July 17, 1849, the Alamance County Commissioners voted to spend $8,000 to construct a courthouse in a 75-acre (300,000 m2) area located approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) south of the Providence Church. The County Commissioners expected to pay for the courthouse through the sale of land in the new county seat of Graham. They also levied an ad valorem tax on property of 35.25 cents per $100 valuation and a poll tax of 73.75 cents.[2]

The courthouse was constructed with brick for the sum of $6,400[3] and was opened in 1852.[4] In 1888, 2 new wings were added to the courthouse and the exterior of the courthouse was stuccoed. The courthouse remained open until 1923, when the County Commissioners voted for a new courthouse to replace the over 70-year-old building. The original courthouse was demolished.[5] The only remaining piece of the old courthouse is the 400 lb (180 kg) bell from the cupola, which currently resides at Sesquicentennial Park in Courthouse Square in Graham.[6]

Historic Courthouse[edit]

The current Alamance County Courthouse that sits on the National Register of Historic Places, began construction in 1923 and was opened to the public on November 23, 1924 at a cost of $253,925.82.[7] The courthouse was built in the Classical Revival style and features terracotta stonework, dental tooth molding, and metal-masonry floors. The courthouse originally housed the court system, county government offices, the sheriff's office, state government offices, agricultural offices, health department offices, and federal offices. The original sheriff's office is located in the southwestern 1st floor corner of the building, which features metal-framed shatter-resistant windows. The ceiling of the courtroom on the 2nd floor is silk. The Courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.[5]

The courthouse has been renovated many times throughout its history. In 1996, a $1.2 million repair was done to the roof of the building to prevent further leakage from outside. Between August 2010 and September 2011, the courthouse underwent a $3 million renovation to repair massive water damage, prevent future water damage, improve access to cramped spaces, improve overall safety, and restore the interior of the courthouse to its 1923 appearance as much as possible.[8] The courthouse was re-opened in a ceremony on September 12, 2011.

In order to address naming issues, March 7, 2011, the name of the Alamance County Courthouse was changed to the Alamance County Historic Courthouse.[9]

From NE Corner, near Tasty Bakery in Graham, NC

Other Courthouses[edit]

In order to accommodate the growing needs of the court system without significantly affecting the current courthouse, Alamance County has added 2 courthouses over the years. The Courthouse Annex began construction in 1966 and was opened to the public in 1967, and is currently connected to the Alamance County Office Building, which began construction in 1974.[10] The Courthouse Annex was renovated in late 2009 and early 2010 and reopened in April 2010 as the Civil Courts Building.[11]

Due to massive problems with noise, building access, asbestos, and dangerous conditions, the county and the court system battled in the late 1980s and early 1990s over the renovation of the Old Courthouse and the construction of a new courthouse. Minor renovations were done to the Old Courthouse, and construction began on a new Criminal Courts Building, referred to locally as the "New Courthouse" in 1992. Construction was completed in 1993 and the building opened to the public on December 22, 1993.[12]

Temporary Courthouses[edit]

For the 2010 Renovations, the Offices of the Old Courthouse were moved to the Youth Services Building, approximately 1 block west of the Courthouse.[13]

See also[edit]

National Register of Historic Places listings in Alamance County, North Carolina

References[edit]