The Georgia Trust


gilmer county citizens vote to destroy historic courthouse

The Story: Gilmer County's unique historic Ellijay courthouse is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Originally built as the Hyatt Hotel in 1898, the building was converted in 1934 for courthouse use and has served as a community gathering place for 72 years.

Threat: After decades of deferred maintenance and neglect, the Gilmer County Courthouse was condemned in 2003. The county commission proposed demolition. While extensive repairs are required, the expensive methodology chosen is unnecessary and experts believe its rehabilitation is feasible. The decision was left up to the citizens of Gilmer County, who voted via a November 7, 2006 referendum to demolish and replace the historic building with new construction.

Solution: The Georgia Trust, along with the Historic Preservation Division (HPD) and architect Jack Pyburn, met with the community to discuss the feasibility of retaining this prominent historic building prior to the referendum in which citizens of the county voted to demolish the structure. While there may now be no solution for the Gilmer County courthouse, the Trust and its partners continue to advocate to save Georgia's historic courthouses. For more information on Georgia's historic courthouses, see Are We Doing Justice? What Can Be Done To Save Our Historic Courthouses in the September/October issue of The Rambler at






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