Over the next several weeks Picturing
the Past will look at downtown Brevard—its development, what’s changed, and
When the town was originally laid out in the 1860s it included a
town square for public use. The primary
streets were Main St. running east and west and Broad St. running south out of
town. Broad Street did not originally go north beyond the
The first courthouse was a two-story wooden structure on
the northwest corner of the town square.
|The old Courthouse stars can be seen at the
Heritage Museum on West Main St.
In 1881 the current brick courthouse was completed. The courthouse tower originally had stars on
each side. As early as 1911 there was
talk of a town clock in the tower. Money
was raised by showing moving picture shows at the courthouse throughout the
summer. According to a Transylvania Times article on Library History this money was
diverted in 1912 to help pay for repairs and improvements to the U.D.C. Library. Clocks were eventually installed in 1984.
The courthouse also has a bell. At one time it was rung when superior court
was in session. Today it is not often
used but was rung 150 times on February 15, 2011 for the Transylvania County
Sesquicentennial Opening Event.
|August 1910–Note the cannon and cannon balls in the middle of the walkway.
There was also a drinking fountain and fire hydrant
In 1910 Mayor Breese acquired an “obsolete cannon and
some empty shells for decorative purposes”.
The cannon is on a mounted stand to the east of the
In 1920-21 a new jail was built behind the Courthouse. The two building weren’t joined until the
1980s when the jail moved to Morgan St. and the Courthouse was renovated.
Through the years there have been numerous the bandstands
or gazebos on the Courthouse lawn. Early
photographs show a round, covered, raised bandstand on the west side of the
building. Later there was a large
rectangular, covered and raised bandstand on the west side. In May 1929 a major wind storm caused
extensive damage throughout the county, including knocking down a large oak
that crushed the municipal bandstand. A smaller covered bandstand replaced it. The
current gazebo is located near where the U.D.C. Library stood from 1911-1956.
|1905–The original bandstand and pool with a central fountain.
There is also a drinking fountain in the lower right corner of the photo.
At one time there was also a large round pool with a
central fountain on the southwest corner of the Courthouse lawn.
During the early 1900s the city Fire and Street
Departments were located to the west of the Courthouse of as well. They were both relocated to West Main in the
In 1926 North Broad Street was opened up from Main St. to
Probart St. for the first time. North
Broad was also paved at this time.
A photograph dated 1926 shows a low stone wall across the
front of the Courthouse lawn and a newspaper photograph from May 1929 shows the
stone wall on both the south and west sides of the building.
Overall the appearance of the Transylvania County Courthouse
itself has not changed a lot in 134 years.
The major changes have been the additions to back and changes on the
grounds surrounding it.
Next week’s article will feature businesses along East
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] or 828-884-3151 X242.