Thursday, March 16, 2006

Old and New Courthouses

Above is a picture of Cobb County’s old courthouse, which was replaced by the glass looking building with one way windows and the building to left with the clock.

The Old Courthouse looked tall and regal. As a child when we would return from a long boring trip visiting relatives when I saw the tall clock tower I felt we had arrived home.

My feeling when seeing the Old Courthouse after being gone for a while must be similar to what G.I.s felt when returning from Europe and seeing the Statue of Liberty.

Well, there might be some degrees of emotional difference, but you get the idea.

Not only for me, but the Old Courthouse was a type of Mecca for Cobb Countians. It is where the old timers sat out front and shared the latest political gossip, farmers coming to town on Saturday, houses and autos being auctioned off on the steps, displays, such as the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not mobile, land deals made official, important trials, and much more.

Of course, you could do all that with the new shiny courthouse too, but the shiny yellow glass just didn’t have the pizzazz of the old one as far as looming over the population.

The newer one just doesn’t have a personality.

Before the old one, and older one was one in the center of the Square in Marietta. It was burned to the ground by Sherman’s Troops in the Summer of 1864 when Marietta was under Yankee marshal law.

Afterwards, the officials went through a couple of buildings, but finally in the early 1900s the courthouse know as the old courthouse was built.

Everybody loved it.

Then, in the early 1960s, my old 3rd grade teacher Mrs. McCollum’s husband Herbert McCollum became county commissioner. He tried to float a bond issue to build a new courthouse but got too much opposition. Then, it is rumored that he would pay a janitor of the courthouse a dollar everyday and the janitor would go up the tower and lob a brick off onto the street. The plan was to scare the people into thinking the courthouse was crumbling and it was just a matter of time before the tower collapses.

The people insisted on the tower being repaired, but a new courthouse? No.

Then the courthouse mysteriously became fully inflamed. A gas leak in the basement they said. It was completely destroyed and Herbert got his new Courthouse.

Determination, that’s progress!

Still, to this day old timers have framed pictures of the courthouse, we have three and my mother-in-law has five or six. At local arts and crafts show, artsy interpretations of the old courthouse are always bought like hotcakes…. Or in this case, funnel cakes.

I think the Old Courthouse is a symbol of the turning point of Cobb County. It represented the old Cobb County that almost everybody knew each other person, or at least knew of them. And it was rare to hear a northern accent. After the Old Courthouse lots of people came in. You can go days without crossing paths with someone you know, and Yankee and foreign accents are more common can the Georgia accent.

I know nothing remains the same, but I wish time would at least be a bit more stubborn.

Do you think the modern looking complex someday people will want it framed and in their homes as they now do with Old Courthouse?

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Blogger kenju said...

I doubt that will happen until it is 75-100 years old. I love the look of the old buildings too. More modern architecture leaves me cold.

4:22 AM  
Blogger ET said...

I think I may be guilty of giving a false impression. I implied the latest county complex is sparkling new. That is not exactly right. It is almost 40 years old now.

5:18 AM  
Blogger gerbil said...

I prefer the old one. Although I do like some new buildings i get annoyed when its at the expense of old ones with charm.

Before I moved to the town where I now live they demolished the old victorian gothic covered market and built a concrete utilitarian shooping centre instead, progress my ****. Architecturally speaking the 60's and 70's in the UK was an age of vandalism.

Towns and cities need to evolve rather than charge into the future. That way the community develops with it. (rant over)

2:22 AM  
Blogger ET said...

In the past several years several counties in north Georgia have been converting their old landmark courthouses into county museums. Now that seems like a good thing for these old great looking buildings to do, house museums. And let the newer buildings with their electronic networking switchboards and indoor plumbing take care of today's issues.

6:55 PM  

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