May 25, 2015

Construction of the Pulaski County Courthouse, 1874

Previously:

Click here for a list of my other Pulaski/Rockcastle/Laurel County KY articles

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These are some articles which relate to the construction of the courthouse in Somerset completed in 1874 and in use up until 1974, pictured left. I don't know the date of this drawing, although the cars out front give some idea.

(Image credit: http://courthousehistory.com/ )





















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[January 19, 1872] -


A fire in Somerset, Pulaski county, Ky., last Sunday, burned twelve of the best houses in the village, including the Court-House. Loss, $75,000. [1]




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[September 6, 1872] -

IMPROVEMENTS.

Notwithstanding the destructive fire here some months since, the spirit of improvement has been shed broadcast over our town again.  The burnt district is being rebuilt; the brick work of the business blocks almost completed, and other buildings now under contract.

SOMERSET.

is the city of the mountains, and contains nine dry goods stores, three grocery stores and confectioneries, one boot and shoe store, and a No. 1 drug store, one National Bank, two hotels, Masonic college, six churches, four Sabbath schools, and not a single whisky shop. We have but little use for a courthouse, yet as it is fashionable to have one, our honorable county court will take some decisive steps toward rebuilding this fall. [2]





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[November 1, 1872] -

OUR COURT HOUSE.

The plan of the new building was reported by the Committee last week and adopted by the court, who decided to sell county bonds to raise the needed funds. The court will meet again in December for the purpose of locating the building, when we trust the honorable gentlemen, constituting that body, will in their wisdom see both the advantage and economy in the purchase of the old "Cumberland Hotel lot" upon which to erect their house of justice. I am satisfied that such a conclusion would meet the approbation of the county. [3]




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[January 31, 1873] -


OUR NEW COURT-HOUSE.

Our County Court was again in session last week, declaring their intention to build upon the old site, and appointed the following gentlemen as a building committee, with instructions to let out the contract immediately: William Gibson, T. Z. Morrow, and George M. Sandifer. An act was passed by the Legislature, allowing the court to sell lands, contract for building, etc. [4]





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[February 21, 1873] -

NEW COURT-HOUSE

When completed, will be an honor to the county, and to the wisely-selected building committee, Colonel T. Z. Morrow, George M. Sandifer, and William Gibson. They have secured the services of James Carrigan, the Danville architect, to draft plan of building, and the contract for the work will be let out some time during next month. [5]




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[May 2, 1873] -

OUR NEW COURT-HOUSE.

The magistrates of our county were notified to meet in Somerset on Monday last, for the purpose of determining whether or not the building of our court-house would be let out to contractors. A sufficient number of the court were not present to constitute a quorum, but those present unanimously agreed that the building committee should take the matter into their own hands, and have the management and control of the building. Whether or not this be a wise and judicious conclusion, time alone can disclose. However, the committee is composed of good men, who will no doubt discharge the trust reposed in them with great care, caution, and economy. But we can't see the necessity of convening the magistrates every few weeks, and putting the county to an unnecessary expense. [6]






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[May 30, 1873] -

In a few days not a stone will be left to mark the place where once stood our house of Justice. Old things must pass away, while our country, as well as the citizens who now inhabit it, must undergo many changes. We live in a progressive age, and "we might as well be out of the world as out of fashion," therefore a new Court-House, one of modern style, and to suit the times -- to which our citizens can point with pride -- is demanded of this generation. A number of hands are engaged at the rock quaries; a large brick kiln is in progress, and we are informed that Geo. M. Sandifer, will, e'er long, attach to his steam mill, near town, a saw, having the contract to cut and supply the plank and lumber for the new Court House.

THE COUNTY COURT,

having vested a building committee, with authority, on Monday last, to have issued and sold county bonds to the amount of $30,000, in sums of not less than $100 each. Said bonds to run for 15 years, with the privilege to the county of redeeming them at any time after the expiration of three years. [7]






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[June 6, 1873] -

Our Circuit and County Clerks have removed their offices to the old Farmers Bank building, while the old Clerk's office is being torn away to make room for the foundation of the new Courthouse. [8]





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[June 27, 1873] -


Our building committee are very energetic; a splendid quality of rock is now being delivered, and we learn that the corner-stone of our new court-house will be laid in a few days. [9]






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[August 1, 1873] -

NEW COURT-HOUSE.

The building of which is an evidence of county pride and shows a proper spirit of improvement, and we are looking to its speedy completion with the greatest anxiety, and we trust that it will prove an edifice of such workmanship and architecture, to which every citizen of our county can point with pride, notwithstanding the dissatisfaction which at present prevails amongst that class of individuals who are informed, or in other words, misinformed, as to the duties, responsibilities and labors incumbent upon the building committee and how and in what manner they are to receive compensation for their services. To set a few distempered minds at rest, we will inform them that neither member of said committee has knowledge of the amount he will receive for his services, as this is a matter solely within the province of the county court to determine when the building is completed, then it will be left to their sound judgment and discretion to make an allowance, taking into consideration their time, service, economical management and saving to the county.

We are aware that many erroneous impressions have been made by thoughtless persons, without considering the consequences upon the minds of the over-credulous and those who are every ready to catch at even a shadow that they may think is passing by for the benefit of a town citizen. We learn that many of our citizens have been made to believe such absurd and preposterous reports as to the following: "That the building committee has ordered sand from Lake Michigan and a superior lot of hair from Russia for plastering purposes; that the cupalo was to be lit up with gas--at an enormous cost per annum to the county--that the town loafers might see the time of night; that the building committee was receiving every Saturday evening from seven to ten dollars per day each for merely overseeing the hands, and Jim Sandifer would be allowed one thousand dollars per annum for his services in attending to and winding up the clock;" and many other of a like character manufactured for the sole purpose of having a little fun at the expense of certain individuals, who make frequent visits to our town to catch the wild street rumor. Shame upon the man who is so lost to common sense and good reasoning as to believe such foolishness. And we would advise all to be patient until we have some reliable evidence that our money is being improperly expended, then we will all join in the "chorus" and see that the tax-payers of our county are protected. 

NEW PUMP.

The trustees are now having removed the old pump from the well on public square, for the purpose of supplying it with a new one. [10]



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[August 15, 1873] -


The foundation wall for our new Court-House is almost completed, and is considered a very excellent and substantial piece of work. [11]





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[August 29, 1873] -

OUR TOWN.

Notwithstanding the devastating fire fiend -- that destroyer of man's noble and grand works of architecture, which visited us some two years since -- is rapidly building up. Our House of justice will be a large and magnificent building, and completed perhaps against our next Spring Court -- while splendid brick business blocks and other neat buildings are supplying the places of those burned. Our citizens are wide awake and hopeful of a more propitious, better day. We feel confident at this time that the

CINCINNATI SOUTHERN R. R.

Will e'er long be built through our county, and near to, or within the limits of our town. [12]




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[December 19, 1873] -

The work on our new courthouse is progressing rapidly, and from present indications our next Circuit Court can be held there. The first section of the cupola is up and the roof is now ready to receive its metalic covering. [13]





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[January 16, 1874] -

Our new Courthouse, one of the most magnificent buildings in the State, is now almost complete; which will cost the county from thirty-five to forty thousand dollars, and we hear of but little trouble in collecting the tax to liquidate the debt. [14]





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[March 13, 1874] -

The work on our new courthouse is progressing rapidly. The next term of our Circuit Court, 4th Monday of the present month, will be held in the new "hall." [15]




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[March 20, 1874] -

The heavy timbers for the courthouse cupola are now being put together, which will ere long present a grand and imposing view to the stranger or traveler entering our town, and will speak much in behalf of our enterprise. It will extend above the roof to a height of 65 or 70 feet. Mr. Johnson, of Crab Orchard, the boss carpenter, is a fine workman of long experience, and is an agreeable gentleman. [16]






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[March 27, 1874] -

The Pulaski Circuit Court commenced this morning on our new courthouse. The hall for Circuit Court purposes is indeed a magnificent one, and speaks well for the architect, carpenters and our worthy building committee. [17]






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[April 17, 1874] -

The Courthouse lumber was converted into a fence, Saturday night, 4th inst., running from the Courthouse across the square to Tate's store, a bout fifteen large rails high and well staked and ridered at that. And the question is still asked by our vigilant town authorities, "who struck Billy Patterson?" and echo answers who.

The brick front of our new Courthouse will be taken down in a few days, and in lieu thereof a solid iron front will be erected, part of the heavy columns and pillars having already reached our town. The framework for the cupola will be completed this week. Its height from the roof  will be about 60 feet. [18]






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[May 8, 1874] -

The beautiful iron front or cupola to our new courthouse now stands erect as a monument of pride to Pulaski county's enterprise and liberality. It was manufactured by Messrs. Sneed & Sayor, of Louisville, and reflects great credit upon Mr. C. P. Williams, of their house, who visited our town and superintended its construction. Mr. Williams is not only an excellent and skillful workman, but a nice, smooth and agreeable gentleman. [19]





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[June 26, 1874] -

The cupola of our new Courthouse is almost complete. It is a grand and magnificent structure and shows great skill in the workmen. The large bell was hung on Saturday last, and the clock will reach our town in a short time. [20]






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[September 11, 1874] -

Our new Courthouse is now almost completed. Mr. R. Watts, who superintends the plastering, tells me that he will finish his part of the work to-day, which is, indeed, an excellent job. His ornamental work in the Circuit Court room cannot be excelled for beauty, while much taste is displayed. We would recommend Mr. Watts, to all towns or persons who desire plastering done int he most improved and beautiful finish.

Our town clock is now performing its duty. Keeping excellent and correct time, while each stroke of the hammer as it tells us of the departure of another hour, but reflects more credit and new honors upon our worthy building committee, Col. T. Z. Morrow and Wm. Gibson, who have given their time and labor, and spared no pains in having erected a house of justice, that any of the county must feel proud of, at least citizen every one that possesses a county pride. We are proud of the house, and love to hear the clock strike, it is the poor man's friend, and we again say, that our new Courthouse is one of the best and most magnificent in the State. Such as we merit, and our county is able to pay for it, and for anything else that she needs. Most of our county officers have taken possession of their rooms in the first story and are very much pleased with them. [21]





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[March 5, 1875] -

The most attractive object which meets the eye on entering town, is the magnificent Court House, recently built at a cost of nearly $35,000, it is one of the handsomest public buildings of the kind, in the State. All over town are seen marks of improvement. If the three excellent hotels had a few coats of paint, well laid on, the appearance of the Public Square would be vastly improved. [22]






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[April 3, 1885] -

Our neighboring county of Pulaski, which several years ago built one of the handsomest Court-houses in this whole section at a cost of nearly $50,000 has already been enabled, we learn, principally from the tax she obtains from the Cincinnati Southern, to pay off the bonds issued for the construction of the building. We are further informed that the County Court of that fortunate county, has in view of the fact that all its debts are paid, passed an order providing that the tax derived from the railroad shall go to a sinking fund, with which turnpikes are to be made all over the county. [23]






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[October 1886] -

According to the 1886 Sanborn map, the courthouse was two stories made of brick (denoted by the pink/red color), the front porch and columns made of wood (denoted by yellow color). The number two in the top right corner of the building and the porch indicate that the building is two stories. The windows on the north face have openings on the first and second stories (dots represent stories, lines indicate stories) and have iron shutters. The image says offices are on the first floor, the dashed lines indicating interior 1st floor walls only, with courtroom presumably on the second. The cornice is noted by a dotted line on only on the front of building. [24]




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[January 1897] -

The 1897 Sanborn map shows two main differences; no notations for the windows, and the dotted line indicating the framed cornice is around the entire exterior. This map also notes that the clock tower is iron clad and 70 feet in height. The measurement to the eaves is given as 32 feet, meaning the clock tower cupola doubles the height of building. Heat is provided by stoves, and lighting by this time is electric. [25]









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[September 1903] -


The 1903 Sanborn map shows the same as the 1897 map. [26]
















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[February 4, 1906] -




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[1] Excerpt from "The South." The True Northerner, Paw Paw, MI. January 19, 1872. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85033781/1872-01-19/ed-1/seq-2/ 2nd col

[2] Excerpt from "From Somerset." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. September 6, 1872. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1872-09-06/ed-1/seq-3/

[3] Excerpt from "From Pulaski County." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. November 1, 1872. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1872-11-01/ed-1/seq-3/

[4] Excerpt from "From Pulaski County." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. January 31, 1873. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1873-01-31/ed-1/seq-3/

[5] Excerpt from "From Pulaski County." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. February 21, 1873. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1873-02-21/ed-1/seq-3/

[6] Excerpt from "Pulaski Column." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. May 2, 1873. Page 4. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1873-05-02/ed-1/seq-4/

[7] Excerpt from "Pulaski Column." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. May 30, 1873. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1873-05-30/ed-1/seq-3/

[8] Excerpt from "Pulaski Column." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. June 6, 1873. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1873-06-06/ed-1/seq-3/

[9] Excerpt from "Pulaski Column." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. June 27, 1873. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1873-06-27/ed-1/seq-3/

[10] Excerpts from "Pulaski Column." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. August 1, 1873. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1873-08-01/ed-1/seq-3/

[11] Excerpt from "Pulaski Column." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. August 15, 1873. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1873-08-15/ed-1/seq-3/

[12] Excerpt from "Pulaski Column." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. August 29, 1873. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1873-08-29/ed-1/seq-3/

[13] Excerpt from "Pulaski Column." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. December 19, 1873. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1873-12-19/ed-1/seq-3/

[14] Excerpt from "Pulaski Column." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. January 16, 1874. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1874-01-16/ed-1/seq-3/

[15] Excerpt from "Pulaski County Department." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. March 13, 1874. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1874-03-13/ed-1/seq-2/

[16] Excerpt from "Pulaski County Department." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. March 20, 1874. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1874-03-20/ed-1/seq-2/

[17] Excerpt from "Pulaski County Department." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. March 27, 1874. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1874-03-27/ed-1/seq-2/

[18] Excerpt from "Pulaski County Department." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. April 17, 1874. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1874-04-17/ed-1/seq-2/

[19] Excerpt from "Pulaski County Department." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. May 8, 1874. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1874-05-08/ed-1/seq-2/

[20] Excerpt from "Pulaski County Department." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. June 26, 1874. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1874-06-26/ed-1/seq-3/

[21] Excerpt from "Pulaski County News." The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. September 11, 1874. Page 2. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1874-09-11/ed-1/seq-2/

[22] Excerpt from Column 3. The Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. March 5, 1875. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038328/1875-03-05/ed-1/seq-3/

[23] Excerpt from "Chesapeake & Nashville." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. April 3, 1885. Page 3. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1885-04-03/ed-1/seq-3/

[24] Sanborn Fire Map, Sheet 1 of Somerset, Pulaski Co., Kentucky. October 1886. First published by Sanborn Fire Company, New York, NY. Accessed from Kentucky Digital Library (http://kdl.kyvl.org/), University of Kentucky.

[25] Sanborn Fire Map, Sheet 2 of Somerset, Pulaski Co., Kentucky. January 1897. First published by Sanborn Fire Company, New York, NY. Accessed from Kentucky Digital Library (http://kdl.kyvl.org/), University of Kentucky.

[26] Sanborn Fire Map, Sheet 2 of Somerset, Pulaski Co., Kentucky. September 1903. First published by Sanborn Fire Company, New York, NY. Accessed from Kentucky Digital Library (http://kdl.kyvl.org/), University of Kentucky.

[27] Picture accompanying "Somerset, 'The Magic City' Of the Mountains." Lexington Herald, Lexington, KY. February 4, 1906. Page 3. Genealogybank.com.

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