Bartow Courthouse

We enjoyed a look inside the old Bartow County Courthouse (Cartersville, Georgia) this afternoon, courtesy of Sherry Henshaw, director of the Keep Bartow Beautiful program. I took this photo some years ago:

Unfortunately, the building is in need of serious renovations, and needs to be made ADA compliant, so for the time being it mostly serves as a storage facility. But the courtroom itself remains in great condition (good enough for the filming of Devil’s Knot, at any rate!).

Most county business transpires in the Frank Moore Administration and Judicial Center to the west, which was completed in 1992. It does the job, but doesn’t have quite the character of this place.

The courthouse appears on the county flag, and on the county logo:

It also made the cover of a recent book on Georgia county courthouses:

Ms. Henshaw informs me that this gold-dome courthouse, which was built in 1902, was in fact the second courthouse in Cartersville. The first, dating from the 1870s, now houses the Bartow History Museum. They built a new one because that one was too close to the train tracks, and the trials kept getting interrupted by the noise.

Of course, none of this would have transpired if they had kept Cassville as the county seat. Just as they changed the county name from Cass to Bartow in 1861, after the Confederate colonel, so also did they change the name Cassville to Manassas in 1861, after the famous Confederate victory. This was way too much of a provocation for Sherman, who burnt the settlement to the ground when he came through in 1864. Instead of rebuilding it, the locals just moved the county seat to Cartersville and started over from there. (Cassville did eventually get rebuilt, and under its original name – but it never equaled its former stature.)