Newton residents, history buffs and fans of Texas courthouses will gather Saturday to celebrate the rededication of the Newton County Courthouse, 12 years after it was ravaged by fire.

The 1902 courthouse, a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, was restored as part of the Texas Historical Commission’s Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program.

On Aug. 4, 2000, the building was gutted by fire that eventually consumed 95 percent of the structure. The fire, which originated in the bell tower, destroyed or damaged several original details beyond repair, including the bell that crashed through four stories and locally milled pine moldings. After a long restoration process, the Second Empire-style building is back to its 1937 appearance, when an annex and exterior plaster were added.

Speakers at the Dec. 8 public festivities, which begin at noon, include Newton County Historical Commission Treasurer Sam Collins; Newton County Judge Truman Dougharty; State Rep. Mike Hamilton (R-Mauriceville); State Rep. James White (R-Hillister); Dawn Glover, district coordinator for State Sen. Robert Nichols, District 3; former First Judicial District Judge Joe Bob Golden (retired); THC Executive Director Mark Wolfe; and THC Director of Architecture Sharon Fleming.

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