I was really grateful for all the messages I received on Monday regarding the loss of this historic courthouse. It was amazing how people with no ties to the county felt the need to reach out. Apparently, a fire began around 3AM Monday morning and though first thought to be arson, it is now suspected that a random electrical event may have triggered the conflagration. Deborah Clayton wrote me this morning to say that her cousin and good friend, Hancock County Chairwoman Helen G. “Sistie” Hudson, was confident that the courthouse will be rebuilt as it was fully insured. The Georgia Archives is sending in a disaster recovery team as all records were in the vault and since it wasn’t properly closed much conservation will be needed. A rebuild won’t replace the original, but it shows the resolve of the entire community when it comes to their historic resources.
It’s been suggested that a “new” brick facade was placed on the exterior in the 1950s, but architect Ben Carter writes: “The exterior brick is the original pressed brick brought in from Madison. Parkins and Bruce later Bruce and Morgan always used the highest quality face brick and tight mortar joints with high quality mortar. The Hancock Courthouse has the same brick on the Bruce courthouses in Walton and Covington and all the many others. Her Majesty was certainly not refaced in 1950. The structure performed as Mr. Bruce would have hoped in case of fire. The joist had fire cuts to allow wood to fall inward to preserve the brick structure. The most important portions remain and the Building will restored.“