Clerk of Court and Comptroller Green was pleased to be part of a special celebration today (7/28/22) at the Historic Triangle in Green Cove Springs.A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on the front steps of the recently-renovated 1890 Historic Courthouse. Clerk/Comptroller Green joined county commissioners, judges, school district leadership and contractors to officially reopen the building for use. The ribbon-cutting was followed by a tour of all the sites on the grounds (history museum, railroad depot, train caboose, Old Jail, Archives Center and TAPS military monument). It was a great day to recognize all the hard work that goes into keeping this building (home of our Teen Court program) in ship shape. Kudos to everyone involved. For more information about the 1890 Historic Courthouse or anything related to Clay County history, please contact the Archives Center (Vishi Garig) at 904-371-0027. Thank you. Full media release from the county, here:
Renovations Complete on Clay County’s 1890 Historic Courthouse - County Officials Held Ribbon Cutting
GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla – Clay County officials held a ribbon cutting at Clay County’s 1890 Historic Courthouse on Thursday, July 28, 2022. District 5 Commissioner Kristen Burke led the ceremony and the official ribbon cutting on the front steps of the 132-year-old courthouse facing Walnut Street, the jewel of the Historic Triangle site in Green Cove Springs. Commissioner Burke called the courthouse “A cherished piece of Clay County history.” She told the crowd of elected officials and local guests, “We are all so excited to see the courthouse fully remodeled. This courthouse and the rest of the Historic Triangle are a source of pride and passion for our community.”
The 1890 Historic Courthouse is just one of four in Florida built before 1900 that are still standing and in use today. In 1889, the Board of County Commissioners awarded Architect A.E. McClure the design contract for a sum of $269. W. A. McDuff was awarded the $13,215 building contract, and construction took two years to complete. The architecture combines Italianate and Second Renaissance design elements featuring a distinctive round-arched entrance, decorative brickwork, cast iron columns, and decorative metal cornices.
The exterior renovation work was completed by E. Vaughan Rivers Inc. and included replacing the roof, installing a new attic beam for support, and freshening up the paint and windows. Work began in December of 2021, and the finishing touches were added just last week.
Clay County received two grants from the Division of Historical Resources for the renovations. The County matched that grant and contributed the rest of the funding needed to complete the project.
Major interior renovations were completed in 2005, which included removal of the deteriorating walls and ceiling tiles, updating the electrical wiring, installing new plumbing, and refinishing any original features that could be saved.
In continuous use since 1890, this structure served as the seat of local government until 1973 when the new courthouse was completed at 825 North Orange Avenue in Green Cove Springs. The historic courthouse then became home to the award-winning, state champion Teen Court program. Clerk of Court and Comptroller Tara Green said, “Here, teens are the solution, not the problem,” as she described the nationally-acclaimed Teen Court program that polishes the skills of top-notch youth volunteers and helps juvenile offenders get their lives back on track. “We are proud to be just a handful of programs in the country with a home of our own, now made even better thanks to this renovation,” Green said.
Kelly Watt, Chief of Staff to Superintendent David Broskie said, “I have had the great fortune of seeing how the partnership between the school district and the Clerk of Courts Office directly impacts our community.” Through initiatives like the Clay History Project and school field trips through the courthouse and Historic Triangle, the next generation of engaged and informed citizens is emerging. Watt added, “Teachers and students always return from these field trips with a deeper sense of pride in our community.”
Clay County Deputy Director of facilities Gene Price acknowledged the outstanding work done by the Dasher-Hurst design team and the contractor E. Vaughan Rivers Inc., whose family has ties to the courthouse. Price said, “Their passion for this project led them to ensure the perfection of every detail.” Price added, “Just as there are many layers to this historic building - the original red brick, the stucco applied in the 50s, and now the freshly painted exterior- there are also many layers of history and local connections to the courthouse.”
Learn more about Clay County’s 1890 Historic Courthouse and the Historic Triangle in Green Cove Springs, Florida, at https://archives.clayclerk.com/historical-triangle-site/map-directions/.