For nearly 150 years the courthouse has been the center of justice as well as the most recognizable structure in Fayette County. Recently, it was the subject of an online video aimed at showing others the history of this local landmark.
The Ohio Channel, a service of Ohio’s public broadcasting stations, combines statehouse coverage with locally produced PBS programs to give a statewide perspective on issues that affect the lives of all Ohioans. The website, ohiochannel.org, using live Statehouse programming supplied by Ohio Government Telecommunications and distributed by eTech, packages this programming with Ohio PBS station public affairs programming and documentaries. The Ohio Channel provides the most comprehensive coverage of state government issues.
A recent video posted on the site, entitled Ohio County Courthouses: Seats of Justice, features the county in a unique way, told through the history of the courthouse found in downtown Washington C.H. Retired teacher and local historian Paul LaRue and Fayette County Common Pleas Court Judge Steven Beathard sat down with interviewers and explained some of the history of the building and area. They also provided reasons why the courthouse is so integral to the county.
“Probably my favorite feature are the stone steps that surround the courthouse,” Beathard said during the interview for the video.”It’s part of the fabric of the county. People go by the courthouse, I think they understand that their rights are protected and preserved and this is where their disputes are resolved.”
The video explained a bit of history concerning the riot that ended in bullets holes in 1894, the “Cyclone” that destroyed a lot of the downtown and even talked about the frescoes completed by the famed Ohio painter Archibald Willard. The discussion also included when the courthouse was completed (1885), when it received some renovations, and other significant aspects of its history.
“The courthouse is a great example of living history that we can continue to see and experience every day,” LaRue said during an interview Thursday. “The county commissioners, Judge Beathard and the people who preceded them were tasked with the preservation of the courthouse. It is amazing that the community had the foresight to think about that preservation. And to be able to show the state what the courthouse is to us and explain some of its history is an honor to me. I am glad that a combination of efforts between the courthouse employees, the commissioners, the Fayette Historical Society and others ended in such an informative and very well produced video.”
In recent years, renovations have been completed in an effort to continue the preservation and upkeep of the courthouse. The basement now has an updated color and the walls and stairwells look as good as new, the third floor has had some work done on the paint and wood, and some years ago the top of the courthouse was redone. With more projects to be completed, such as more plaster work and paint jobs, the courthouse will continue to be preserved by the leaders of this community.
As long as the work continues the courthouse will stand as firm as the day it was built and will continue to be this county’s centerpiece.
Reach Martin Graham at (740 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy