Courthouse dedication held
Published 10:03 am Wednesday, September 26, 2018
official courthouse dedication ceremony persisted Sunday with a large turnout on courthouse square.
“The first thing I want to do is welcome and thank the citizens of Charlotte County, because this building belongs to you,” said Chairman of the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors Gary D. Walker during the ceremony.
He said he hoped the citizens would come to love the new building as much as everyone loves the Jefferson courthouse.
The ceremony was hosted by the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors on behalf of the citizens of the county.
“I am delighted that the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors is hosting this today and (it) is very much appreciated,” said Circuit Court Clerk Nan R. Colley. “As I look around today, I see interest and excitement.”
She said their first day of Circuit Court was held July 11 with the Hon. Kimberley S. White presiding.
The new courthouse officially opened for business July 9.
“Since the commencement of our operation in the new building, we’ve received encouragement and positive comments about the building, and a few suggestions,” joked Colley. “Today I am honored and I find it a privilege to welcome you, the citizens of Charlotte County and the welcomed guests, to step inside to tour your new courthouse.”
She also encouraged guests to sign the register which would be lodged in the clerk’s office.
The Hon. Joel C. Cunningham, retired Circuit Court Judge, delivered remarks for the event and was bestowed the honor of officially cutting the ribbon for the ceremony.
“What a wonderful day in Charlotte County and I’m extremely honored to have been given this opportunity to say a few words on this historic day,” said Cunningham.
During his remarks, he spoke on the topic of history, outlining the role Charlotte County played throughout the years.
“Charlotte County is within that central and south central area of Virginia which is in my view, our nation’s fertile crescent and the cradle of the American Revolution,” said Cunningham.
He said the county played an instrumental role in igniting the revolutionary war.
“The give me liberty or give me death speech was made right here in Charlotte County and at the St. John’s Church in Richmond,” Cunningham said.
He said the historic Jefferson courthouse in Charlotte County is the only remaining courthouse designed by Thomas Jefferson.
“It served the citizens of Charlotte County for 195 years,” Cunningham said.
He said the historic courthouse would always be a gem.
“It is right here, you don’t have to go anywhere else in the world. It is right here,” said Cunningham.
He said Charlotte County is a special place in the history of the United States and the history of the world.
“As an African-American having been born in the late 1940s when segregation and discrimination were very much a part of the fabric and landscape of Virginia, I can’t begin to tell you how proud I was on that day in 1997 when I first took the bench in that courthouse right over there … ” said Cunningham, referencing the historic courthouse.
Background information provided previously by Courthouse Planning Committee Chair, Nancy Carwile detailing Charlotte County’s courthouse journey said “in 1823, a delegation of Charlotte County Commissioners went to Monticello and requested plans for a new courthouse.”
In order to make room for the Jefferson Plan courthouse, the previous white frame courthouse, which included a red roof and blue trim, was given to local citizens to use as a stable.
The information said the famous debate between Henry and Randolph was held at the red, white and blue courthouse in 1799, said the information.
Seventeen years later, the back end of original Jefferson Courthouse was torn down and the back corners were rebuilt, making room for a jury box.
“Almost 200 years later, we have a 21st century courthouse. We hope it will support our local citizens for another 200 years,” said Carwile.
Carwile previously said the county appointed a committee consisting of one person from each district to advise the Supervisors in the planning of the dedication ceremony.
Additionally, she said previously “early fall was chosen to avoid hot weather and summer vacations, and to find a date convenient for more people to attend. The Supervisors appointed a good committee and their advice and planning went very well.”