Georgia County Government - May/June 2008 - (Page 61)

Georgia’s Grand Old Courthouses The Grady County Courthouse at Cairo Built in 1908, burned Feb. 18, 1980. Alexander Blair III, architect. By Wilber W. Caldwell G rady County was one of eight new counties created in 1905. But unlike Tif ton, C o r d e l e , To c c o a and the other pro- gressive rail crossings that sought new county status in that year, Cairo was not a hotbed of New South zeal. Most of the beneficiaries of the “new county movement” centered on railroad “boom towns,” which achieved their independence as the apparent heirs to the New South’s capricious legacy. But in Cairo, the county soon to be ironically named Grady, after the New South’s most influential spokesman, based her appeal on no such progress. She clung to her rural ways and simply argued for the partition of Decatur and Thomas counties on the grounds that they were the two largest counties in Georgia. The Grady County Courthouse at Cairo. Photo Courtesy of the Georgia Department of Archives and History. Cairo’s agrarian ideological focus was dramatically revealed in the fight with Thomas and Decatur counties over the creation of the new county. The region that was soon to become Grady County was considered a “hot bed of populism” by many in Thomas County. After an attempt to move the county seat from Cairo to nearby Whigham and three failed attempts to pass a bond issue to fund a new courthouse, the newly created Grady County opted to fi nance courthouse construction out of general revenues and broke ground on this building in 1908. Despite the county’s decided lack of New South fervor, Alexander Blair’s 1908 Grady County Courthouse at Cairo appeared to be a thoroughly up-to-date aff air. But here the bold Neoclassicism, which elsewhere in America stood for the nation’s growing fi nancial and industrial power, also recalled the soft columns of a bygone era in the Deep South. What passed for the architecture of Wall Street in the Northeast was the architecture of the Lost Cause in Cairo. Here is one of the last of the dual architectural symbols like those perfected by J. W. Golucke and Frank Milburn just after the turn of the century. By 1908, there were many models close at hand for Blair to follow. A. J. Byran’s compelling 1902 Colquitt County Courthouse, T. F. Lockwood’s 1903 Dougherty County Courthouse and J. W. Golucke’s stunning 1906 Worth County Courthouse stood on the squares of nearby Moultrie, Albany and Sylvester respectively. But here in Cairo, second generation Macon architect Alexander Blair III, who had designed the remarkable Decatur County Courthouse in nearby Bainbridge in 1901, ignored all of these models and copied his own Montgomery County Courthouse which had been completed at Mt. Vernon in 1907. COURTHOUSE continued on page 62 The Grady County Courthouse takes a step on the road toward modern Renaissanceinspired forms at the extreme of which would be Beaux-Arts Classicism, an excessively baroque governmental style which emotionally recalled little of times gone by. MAY/JUNE 2008 61

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia County Government - May/June 2008

Georgia County Government - May/June 2008
President’s Message
County Matters
ACCG 2008 Annual Meeting: Highlights
County Focus: Clayton County
Negotiating a Professional Service Firm Contract: Part 3
Counties Get Involved in Efforts to End Sexual Abuse of Children
Smart Growth Scorecard Gives Communities a Way to Grade New Developments
Wireless Technologies Critical for First Responders
Research Corner: The ACCG Policy Process
RDCs Assist the USS Georgia Flag Project
Extension News: Animals Take Spotlight in Disaster Planning
Georgia’s Grand Old Courthouses: Grady County
NACo News: Green Initiative Launches Searchable Database
Insurance News: ACCG Announces New Inmate Medical Savings Program
County Parade
Index of Advertisers

Georgia County Government - May/June 2008