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  • Writer's pictureClay County Travel

Historic Courthouse

Clay County’s historic courthouse has recently been given new life by the awesome efforts of theClay County Communities Revitalization Association (the “CCCRA”). Members of the CCCRA and countless community volunteers have spent endless hours in both fundraising, overseeing the rehabilitation of the physical structure and in raising awareness within the community of this great treasure that stands in the center of the Hayesville town square. Just as in the past, the courthouse will again play an central  role in the events of our community with everything from anchoring festivals on the square, providing a one-of-a-kind venue for special events, weddings and celebrations, and bringing so much of the history of Clay County back to life.

“Justice has nothing to do with what goes on in a courtroom.

Justice is what comes out of a courtroom.”

- Clarence Darrow

A bit of history… (from the CCCRA website): “The ​Historic Clay County Courthouse, located on the Square in downtown Hayesville, was completed in 1888. Constructed by local craftsman Captain J. S. Anderson in the Italianate Vernacular style from 1887-1888, at a cost of $7800, and dedicated in early 1889, the ​Historic Courthouse​ is the second courthouse for the County, having replaced the original wooden structure. That building, which stood on the south side of the Square, near the present location of Tiger’s Clothing Store, burned to the ground the night of May 20, 1870, destroying all early county records. 

While still operating as the County’s courthouse into the early 21st century, the ​Historic Clay County Courthouse​ fell into disrepair. Starting in 1998, ​CCCRA obtained funds to garner improvements including renovating the exterior of the building, replacing lights on the Square grounds, installing commemorative brick walks, planting trees and repainting the gazebo/bandstand.  County business continued at the site until 2007, when the present-day courthouse was constructed outside of downtown Hayesville.

The ​Historic Courthouse and Square is the heart of the community.  In days not too distant past, the grounds served as a playground for the town children. Farm families came to town on Saturday doing their marketing and stayed to visit with their extended family and friends.  Continuing that tradition, the ​Historic Courthouse ​grounds and Square hosts community events such as: ​CCCRA Summer Concert Series; Hayesville Farmer’s Market; the Clay County Rotary Club Car-B-Que; Clay County Historical & Arts Festival; the Children’s Health Fair; the Tractor Parade and Agricultural Day; and the Lighting of the Square and Christmas Parade. 

Countless newcomers to the area, upon seeing the ​Historic Courthouse​, have said “I knew I’d come home.”  Preserving the heritage of the ​Historic Courthouse ​for the residents and descendants of Clay County, both life-long and new, is at the heart of the mission of ​Clay County Communities Revitalization Association.”

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”  ― Martin Luther King Jr.

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