Hawkins committee wants issues resolved prior to open house at historic courthouse

Jeff Bobo • Aug 13, 2013 at 10:44 PM

ROGERSVILLE — Hawkins County will host an open house on Sept. 29 to show off the recently completed renovation of Tennessee’s oldest functioning courthouse.

The Hawkins County Courthouse, which was built in 1836, underwent a $2 million renovation that was completed earlier this year.

The County Commission’s Buildings Committee agreed Tuesday to host an open house to show off the courthouse and the adjacent courthouse annex on Sunday, Sept. 29 from 1-4 p.m.

It will be a simple affair with no refreshments served and no formal presentations, the committee agreed. The doors will be opened and visitors will be allowed to come and go, and tour, at their leisure during the allotted time.

County buildings manager Alana Roberts told the committee she believes county historian Rodney Ferrell has written up a brief historical summary of the courthouse that will be on display for visitors to read.

There are a handful of issues that will have to be resolved before the open house, however.

Trustee Patsy Courtney, whose office is in the annex building, said that recent roof leaks had damaged her walls and they need to be painted.

Apparently the new roof installed last month on the annex solved the leaking problem, but Courtney said the stained walls are an eyesore.

Committee member Bob Palmer also noted that there is a hole in the floor of an upstairs bathroom of the main courthouse that has been sealed with putty but not yet smoothed over or finished.

Roberts said both of those issues should be resolved prior to the open house.

The committee also agreed Tuesday to authorize Roberts to purchase a display case to be placed in the courthouse’s Historical Room, assuming it fits. Roberts sad the display case is currently in the old Armstrong building and has been offered for sale for $900.

The Historical Room is a room on the ground floor of the main courthouse and was previously part of the Election Commission offices. That room will be set aside as a small museum for historic displays loaned to the county by private citizens.

Another issue that the committee is hoping will be resolved prior to the open house is a problem with pigeon droppings at the entrance of the main courthouse.

County Mayor Melville Bailey said he is working on a solution involving 4-inch metal spikes installed on flat areas where pigeons land.

One final issue addressed by the committee Tuesday was its desire to see the old spruce pine on the front lawn of the courthouse removed. Permission of the Rogersville Tree Board would be required before a tree can be cut from public or historic property in Rogersville, and the courthouse fits in both of those categories.

The Tree Board failed to have a quorum at its last meeting, so the issues hasn’t been resolved, although it was on the agenda for Tuesday’s Rogersville Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting.

Commissioners want the 20-year-old tree removed because they feel it blocks the view of the newly renovated courthouse from the street.

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