Picturing the Past covered the selection and laying out of a site for the town
to serve as the seat of the newly created County of Transylvania in 1861. One of the first tasks for county officials
was the building of a courthouse. Traditionally
a county courthouse is viewed as the center of power and law as well the center
of community activity.
wanted to reflect the importance of the courthouse through its design and
construction. At the first meeting of
the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions in May 1861 William
Deaver, Benjamin Akins, and Jeremiah Osborn were appointed as the Building
Committee for a “good court house and county jail, both to be built out of
The new county and town had been created just as the
Civil War was beginning and it does not appear that a building was constructed
specifically as a courthouse until after the war. Later minutes call for “a two story court
house built in the town of Brevard in said county to be a wood frame building
and under the direction of a Building Committee and also a good and substantial
jail be put under contract immediately.”
In January 1866 lumber was acquire for the construction
of a temporary courthouse. In August the
contractors where paid $400 and in September George Clayton & Co.
Contractor were paid an additional $50 for work on it. Joshua Orr was paid $12 to build four window
shutters and Lankford receive $75.35 for furnishing hardware for the court
|This early postcard, published by T.B. Allison, shows the architectural
details on the courthouse in its early days.
In 1874 commissioners approved a tax be
levied to appropriate $12,000 for the building of a new courthouse and jail. Transylvania
County finally completed its long desired brick courthouse in the county seat
of Brevard in 1881.
The two-story brick building is Italianate
Victorian in style. The main facade has
a dominate three-story tower topped with a concave mansard roof. Originally there were stars in cut-outs on
each side of the roof. The courthouse
has unusual paired loopholes rather than windows on the front of the first
floor. A belt course creates a visual
break between the first and second story.
Over the next
several week’s Picturing the Past will continue the story of Brevard’s
development through the years. The
January 16, 2018 Bag Lunch program at the Library will showcase the evolution
and growth of downtown Brevard through photographs.
Photographs and information for this column are provided
by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Library. Visit the NC Room during regular library
hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about our history and see additional
photographs. For more information,
comments, or suggestions contact Marcy at [email protected]