JEFFERSON, Texas (KTAL/KSHV) – Saturday, residents of Marion County celebrated the re-dedication of the newly-renovated Marion County Courthouse.
The dedication was the culmination of a two-year, almost $6 million restoration of the Historic Courthouse at 102 West Austin Street in Jefferson.
Built more than 108 years ago in 1913, the renovation restored the historic building back to its original state.
The courthouse reopened for business in April, after county offices and their employees moved back into the restored courthouse after spending nearly three years doing business in temporary offices.
In July 2018, Marion County offices moved out of the courthouse and into temporary offices at 119 W. Lafayette St. after a $4.7 million grant for the restoration of the courthouse was awarded to the county by the Texas Historical Commission. That money was added to $1 million the county had managed to accumulate for the project, “little-by-little” over the course of 20 years, according to Marion County Judge Leward Lafleur
The actual renovations began in April 2019, after contracts were awarded to Komatsu Architecture in Fort Worth as the architect and Joe R. Jones Construction in Weatherford as the construction company.
In August 2019, a time capsule put into the courthouse’s cornerstone when it was originally built was opened. The copper box contained several different coins and some newspapers that did not survive, due to several floods in Jefferson prior to the Lake O’ the Pines dam was built.
The box also contained a Bible and the architect’s leather business card holder that also didn’t survive. But there was part of a $500 bill stuck to the side of the box – a Confederate $500 bill.
Last October, a new time capsule containing several mementoes from the past was dedicated and placed in the cornerstone of the renovated building, which won’t be opened for at least a century.
The project, spearheaded by LaFleur, consisted of several mementos from the past, as well as the present, were placed in a blue steel tube that will age upwards of 200 years the next time people see them.
While some of the items donated were contemporary, others were from more than 100 years ago, which will be more than two centuries old when the capsule is opened.
Other items inside the capsule include a Krewe of Hebe Mardi Gras coin, a Bible from what is believed to be the first Jewish synagogue in northeast Texas and a jar of honey from a local honey-maker. Also inside the capsule is a representation of the pandemic, a mask was selected, along with a quarter dated 2020 with the picture of two bats on the tail.