Old Adams County Courthouse ruled unsafe as walls crack, buckle

The building is deteriorating.

COUNCIL - A building that has become a landmark for many locals might have to be demolished after being deemed unsafe.

Adams County building inspector Don Horton said the old county courthouse was condemned a few weeks ago, and is closed off to the public for safety reasons.

“We don't allow people in it, we don't allow cars going by it, and we don't want the children going to school walking by it," said Horton.

The old Adams County Courthouse sits on a hill overlooking Council. It has been there for more than 100 years and hasn’t been used in nearly two decades. The building has been deteriorating for years, but the harsh winter sped up the process.

“There's no rebar in it. There's no concrete in it. There's mortar but the mortar wasn't as good in those days as it is now,” Horton said.

He said all the snow tied in with the quality of mortar and how the bricks have laid out, has led to the walls of the building to bow out.

The Adams County Historic Preservation Commission has invested nearly half a million dollars into the courthouse over the years, but it’s still deteriorating.

“We could leave it here, but I think the first earthquake we have it's coming down,” Horton said. “These bricks are now apart basically in spots, you can see where it's cracked on the top.”

The future of the old courthouse has yet to be determined. Horton said the county is still waiting on reports from the insurance company and a structural engineer. Once they have those he said the county will be able to determine if it should knock the building down or if they'll be able to repair it.

Council residents have mixed feelings about the future of the old courthouse. Some say it would cost too much to restore, others say the history and property is worth the investment.

“It had no sentimental value to me,” Ralph Brown of Council said. “If they got the money to fix it, fix it. If they don't, you’re going to have to tear it down.”

"They're [old buildings] our history," Danna Barnhart, who looks at the courthouse from home every day, said.

"I like the way this town is. I love this town," Horton said. “It's almost like having a little of the past with you and then when it's gone, you know, it's not ever going to be the same.”

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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