A heavy downpour in Newton on Saturday didn’t dampen the spirits of those who had waited 12 years to see their beloved county courthouse rebuilt after a devastating fire.
Hundreds of people huddled under umbrellas as the Newton County Courthouse was officially rededicated Dec. 8. The original building was completed in 1903, and was gutted when a fire broke out in August 2000.
After much work by Newton County officials and numerous delays, the courthouse was rebuilt to its 1936-37 specifications made possible through the Texas Historical Commission’s Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program.
Festivities included music by the combined bands of the Burkeville, Deweyville and Newton school districts, remarks by local and state officials and the presentation of a Governor’s Certificate and a Senate Resolution marking the event.
Newton County Judge Truman Dougharty and members of the Newton County Historical Commission welcomed Mark Wolfe, executive director of the Texas Historical Commission and other commission staff. U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-The Woodlands), State Rep. Mike Hamilton (R-Mauriceville), State Rep. James White (R-Hillister) and Dawn Glover for State Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) were also in attendance.
When rain forced the events to move inside to the restored courtroom, Judge Dougharty presented reproductions of a historical drawing of the courthouse to about a dozen people who had been instrumental in seeing the reconstruction to completion.