The third Douglas County Courthouse was built in 1896, and was the first Courthouse of substantial construction – bricks and mortar; the first two courthouses were poorly built. All three were constructed on Courthouse Square in downtown Douglasville, the site of the current 1958 Courthouse/Old Courthouse Museum.
The 1896 Courthouse burned in a spectacular fire on January 11, 1956, thought to be the result of faulty wiring, and straight heart pine ceilings, floors and framing that years of drying and the use of floor oils which made for a very flammable structure.
In the fire, many County records were lost, but recently 10 pages of the original blueprints for the 1896 Courthouse were recently found, and have been rehydrated, cleaned and restored as much as possible. The 10 pages are labeled Second Floor Plan, First Floor Plan, First Floor Plan 2, Front Elevation, Roof Plan, Right Side Elevation, Left Side Elevation, Rear Elevation, Longitudinal Section, and Cross Section. The blueprints are 121 years old.
The 10 blueprint pages will be on display from 2 – 5 p.m., Thursday, August 17th, in the Courthouse Art Gallery, 3rd floor, Douglas County Courthouse, 8700 Hospital Drive. Admission is free and the display is open to the Public.
In addition to the display, anyone who ever visited or conducted business in the 1896 Courthouse is asked to come that afternoon and audio record their memories which will become part of the permanent collection of the Douglas County History Museum. These recordings will take place in the dctv23 studio that is adjacent to the Courthouse Art Gallery.
Donations of photographs, documents, marriage licenses – anything that has to do with the 1896 Courthouse – will be gratefully accepted for the Old Courthouse Museum. The restored blueprints are being digitally photographed for future use, and the restored blueprints themselves will be archived for preservation.
The restoration of the blueprints and the display and memory recording are being coordinated by the Douglas County Department of Communications and Community Relations.