Historic Washington County Courthouse to re-open Sept. 18

Outside of Old Main, there isn’t a building on the Fayetteville skyline that is more recognizable than the historic Washington County Courthouse.

After being closed for about a year for renovations, the Fayetteville landmark will be re-dedicated, and re-opened in a series of events scheduled for the week of Sept. 18.

According to FayettevilleHistory.com creator Charlie Alison, the building has been through a few changes since it was completed in 1905.

“The biggest change probably occurred when they divided the third floor courtroom into two rooms in the 1940s. The [recent] renovation made it one room again. It will be great for theatrical lawyers and trials in front of an audience,” Alison said.

“There was also a period during the late 1960s when the steeple was removed. It was originally made of wood, and it had deteriorated enough during that time that they decided it was unsafe. They later replaced it with the help of an army helicopter in 1974,” he said.

The restoration of the building was completed in two phases, beginning with the exterior renovations about five years ago. The newly completed interior renovations began about a year ago.

The renovations cost around $2,615,000. Among them, wood paneling and a drop ceiling – neither which were original to the building – were removed, the antique hard pine was refinished, a new coat of paint believed to be close to the original color was applied, and a new lighting, heating, and ventilation system was been installed.

Also, the 90-year-old World War I mural on the first floor has been cleaned and restored.

The full schedule of events leading up to the re-dedication ceremony on Sept. 18 is below, and more information about the building and renovations can be found at courthousereopening.info.

Rededication of the World War I Mural

When: 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14, 10 a.m.
Representatives of the Marion Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution and Rick Parker, who cleaned the mural for display, will be on hand to rededicate the mural.

Constitution Day Exhibit

Date: Friday, Sept. 17, all day

Reopening of the Historic Courthouse

Date: Saturday, Sept. 18 – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Reopening will start with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, and traffic along College Avenue will be diverted briefly.

The public may take self-guided tours of the courthouse, exploring the renovated spaces and seeing the restored courtrooms during the day.

Rededication of the third-floor courtroom will also occur in the morning with former county officials, judges and lawyers in attendance for opening of an on-the-record court session.