Pittsboro, N.C. — Saturday marked a new beginning in downtown Pittsboro. Chatham County residents gathered to celebrate the grand reopening of the 1881 Chatham County Courthouse.
"A planning group has been hard at work on this special day for several months," said County Commissioner Chairman Walter Petty. "We are all excited to see the restored courthouse and to honor its return with such a special day."
A March 25, 2010, fire gutted the courthouse and caused its iconic clock tower to collapse. Nobody was injured in the fire, but many community members mourned the loss of the courthouse.
Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour, who has participated in the reopening planning, said, "I was in the courthouse on the day of the fire and recall the great shock and sorrow we all felt that day. From those ashes, I am thrilled to see a grand, modernized facility that preserves what we all loved about the old courthouse."
Saturday morning the Historical Associate opened the doors to its new museum, located on the first floor of the courthouse. The museum will house extensive displays on many aspects of the county's history.
Barbara Pugh, president of the Historical Association, said, "We are confident that visitors will enjoy the new museum, while also learning a great deal and gaining a renewed pride about our county's rich history. We are excited to have a museum that Chatham's school children can visit, but it is a place where anyone of any generation can learn more about this unique place we call home."
The new 90,000 square-foot Justice Center houses courtrooms and other offices. The courthouse was constructed for about $21 million.