Early Settlers of
Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
Believed to be the earliest extant picture of the 1899 Union County Courthouse, the edifice still stands on the square in Blairsville, Georgia. The red bricks were molded in the area. Architects named Golucke and Stewart designed the Romanesque Revival style building and M. B. McCinty received the bid to construct the building for $12,000, which was raised in one year by heavy increases in citizens' taxes.
The photograph was shot from the north view looking south. The old Christopher Hotel is shown on the right in the southwest corner of the square, and a store in the southeast corner to the left of the courthouse became Butt's Drug store later. (Courtesy Union County Historical Society)
What we call “the Old Court
House,” now the home of the Union
County Historical and Genealogical Society and the
Begin with the old courthouse itself. The modified Romanesque Revival style architecture stands out even today in its restored state as dignified and picturesque. The clock tower catches the eye first, pictured against the blue mountain sky, its arched windows on four sides once revealing the old bell that called attention to special meetings.
When that courthouse building was
erected in 1899, these citizens served on the
They even considered a new site, rather than in the middle of the town square, on which to build the new building. After all, the older courthouse which had stood in the same spot, burned. It might be reasonable to find another location. They proposed buying lots diagonally to the courthouse square for $800, but that did not meet the public’s approval.
Mr. Stephen Major of Coosa District was generous and offered free land for the courthouse location if the citizens would but accept it. But again the offer of land, though with no cost attached, was defeated. So the commissioners decided to levy taxes to build a courthouse at the cost of $12,000. What a low price that seems to us in this twenty-first century. But then, the tax burden was heavy and many citizens had to sacrifice needed farm animals and other goods in order to keep their land and pay the accelerated taxes. To say the least, it wasn’t easy, building that grand edifice.
But the glorious old courthouse was
built and it has stood, with modifications, for all these years since
1899. The center of court was moved to
its new location in the new courthouse northwest of the square and the
Society undertook major restoration of the old courthouse.
It was successfully placed on the National
Register of Historic Places on
Now back to the year 1934 and that “in
memory” visual trip around the town square and the old courthouse: Entering from the south, on the Gainesville
Highway (recall that the Neal Gap Highway (now 129/19) was opened in
dwelling was on the right, and on the left a garage and another
latter one once being the home of Judge Tom S. Candler.
Proceeding around the square in 1934,
visitors to the town would see a general store and a hotel building,
jail a short distance behind the hotel.
Next would be another dwelling, and on the corner, a general
store. Next was a small café or
lunchroom, a garage
with a service station attached, and on the corner of the road leading
Harris, a drug store. Beyond that
street, continuing around the square, another general store building,
office building behind it commanded that space.
I must mention that the
c2010 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Mar. 25, 2010 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
[Ethelene Dyer Jones is a retired educator, freelance writer, poet, and historian. She may be reached at e-mail email@example.com; phone 478-453-8751; or mail 1708 Cedarwood Road, Milledgeville, GA 31061-2411.]