May 2, 1957

 

This Article Appeared In The Times

But Was Not Actually Titled Calís Column

 

Transcribed by Janette West Grimes

 

Burning Of Court House Record Found

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†† Below is given a typewritten account of the burning of the old court house in Lafayette, just as we wrote it in 1932. The building is said to have burned on the night of July 4, 1932. The account is as we wrote it nearly 25 years ago. It was found among some old papers that we had put away for future reference. It follows:

 

†† The Macon County courthouse, a brick, two-story structure of two stories and a cupola, was destroyed by fire last night, the flames being discovered at ten thirty o'clock by Lester Allen. He gave the alarm and others arrived at once and tried to extinguish the fire which had started in the office of County Trustee Wash* Patterson on the second floor. The flames were visible at the window when found but by the time help arrived and the door was forced open, the room was in a mass of flames and nothing could be saved from the trustee's office. However, scores of citizens arrived in time to save practically everything else in the courthouse, all the records in the register's, county court clerk's, chancery court clerk's and circuit court clerk offices being saved. Prof. D. Henry Piper, county superintendent of schools lost some books but saved his records and most of the furnishings of his office which was on the second floor. The county attorneys, Smith and Holland, also saved their office furnishings.

 

†† Calls were sent to the Hartsville, Gallatin and Scottsville fire departments, but the only response came from Hartsville whose fire engine arrived about midnight. However, the heavy rains of the past two days helped to prevent the spread of the fire to other buildings, although some moved out part of their property for fear of the further spread of the fire.

 

†† Trustee Patterson's loss is estimated at about $500, not counting his records. The courthouse was fifty feet square and was erected in 1901 following the destruction of the old courthouse by fire in March of that year. The present loss is estimated at $20,000, with $10,000 insurance. It was thought at the first that there were indications of incendiarism, but later developments discounted that idea. Several hundred citizens of this place and other parts of the county arrived before the fire burned itself out.