Letter to the editor – Courthouse is worthy of restoration

Being from Grenada County and a next-door neighbor of yours, I have a special appreciation for your historic courthouse, which I have visited many times. I, of course, have been greatly distressed by the damage it suffered in the (2013) fire. Please permit me to express my strong interest in helping to get it restored.

Courthouses are key symbols of our counties’ identity and heritage. They represent the aspirations of our ancestors and provide centerpieces to our communities. The Webster County Courthouse, undoubtedly the most historically significant building in your county, is worthy of restoration. It is historically significant because of events held there and their significance to the development of your county and beyond. It is architecturally significant as an excellent example of the Beaux Arts style of public architecture and as one of celebrated Mississippi architect N.W. Overstreet’s first projects.

Providing nearly 100 years of to your county, the high quality of the materials and the nature of the structural design of the building allowed your courthouse to withstand that devastating fire and still remain intact and strong enough to be restored. The restored building would be stronger and more durable than typical current construction.

I encourage you to celebrate the connection this building gives to your past – a history that this building represents today and hopefully for another 100 years. This courthouse represents the best that the county government of 100 years ago could offer its people – a building that would serve the county for almost a century. A substantial facility, far superior to most (if not all) of the other buildings in the area at that time, the Courthouse is the cornerstone of your county.

As a former president of the board of trustees of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History I am especially proud to know that MDAH has awarded Webster County a Community Heritage Preservation Grant of $500,000 to assist in the restoration of the courthouse. I hope that the county will accept this funding assistance.

I respectfully encourage you to restore your historic courthouse and I hopefully look forward to celebrating its restoration with you. Some of the most impressive and valuable public buildings in our state are those courthouses that have been restored in so many counties across the state.

William F. Winter