Historic courthouse picture needed

Published 3:00 pm Thursday, November 27, 2008

This is one for you history buffs out there. I am looking for a picture of an old Chilton County Courthouse built in the late 1800s.

I believe there have been about five different buildings that have served as courthouses in this county. The first was a log cabin built around 1868. I am told this courthouse was located near where Pinedale Road passes over present-day Interstate 65.

The second was a two-story white building constructed around 1872. If my information serves me well, this structure was used until 1896 when it was replaced by the building whose image I am seeking.

The third courthouse was a Victorian architectural style with three large, upper-story windows located in front between two turrets. The windows were rounded on the top, with each of them forming part of the same arc that tapered down from the center.

At some point, this building was replaced by the two-story bricked courthouse that preceded the existing one. The exact date of its construction is a bit sketchy for me, so this information would be helpful as well.

Our current courthouse, of course, was built in the 1960s and is quickly becoming outdated.

The actual person seeking this photo is John Carroll who lives near Fairview, and I have decided to assist him in his search. He has pictures of every courthouse except the third one. He has compiled historical photo albums of many counties in Alabama, including Chilton.

Mr. Carroll has given me a copy of a 1904 photo of downtown Clanton, taken in front of J.E. Evans’ store. It shows a horse and buggy and several people standing in front of the store. Looming in the background, however, is the Victorian courthouse that is mostly obstructed by the store.

Anyone with a photo of this building is asked to come forward. A photo could be scanned, copied and printed easily with your permission.

If you have any information, please call me at 755-5747, ext. 28. Any help would be appreciated.

– Scott Mims is the news editor for The Clanton Advertiser. His column appears each Friday. He can be reached at scott.mims@clantonadvertiser.com.