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Early County Courthouse
BlakelyGA0006.jpg
Location Courthouse Sq., Blakely, Georgia
Area 1.5 acres (0.61 ha)
Architectural style Classical Revival
MPS Georgia County Courthouses TR
NRHP reference No. 80001015
Added to NRHP September 18, 1980

The Early County Courthouse (also known as the Grand Ole Lady) is the historic county courthouse of Early County, Georgia, located on Courthouse Square in Blakely, Georgia, the county seat. It was built in 1904 and added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 18, 1980. It is also a contributing building in the Blakely Court Square Historic District, NRHP-listed in 2002.

History

Early County was chartered in 1818 and Blakely was established as the county seat in 1825. Early County's first courthouse was a log building, first used in 1827. That building was sold for $13 and moved, making way for the second courthouse, a two-story wooden building built in 1834.

The county's third courthouse, a western-facing building, was built in 1857-58 by Thomas Williams for $4,650; it was sold for $155 to make way for the fourth and present courthouse, built in 1904-1905. The third courthouse was described by the Early County News as dangerously unsafe and dilapidated, and the proposal to build a new court building "was tinted with a light wash of New South fervor and an outpouring of self-promotion." The grand jury recommended a new courthouse, and a January 1905 piece by the Early County News praised an architectural rendering of the proposed design by the architects Thomas Henry Morgan and John Robert Dillon, as "the handsomest structure of its kind in Southern Georgia" which would "be in keeping with the wealth and prosperity of Early County--the Garden spot of Georgia."

Design

The courthouse is two and half stories and is made of brick and marble. It is in the Neoclassical (Classical Revival) style and is surrounded by smaller buildings, grass, and trees, providing a recreational space and a center for community activities. The courthouse in a cross plan; each of the building's four facades is fronted with four rusticated Georgia columns of solid granite, which support the porticoes facing Courthouse Square. The courthouse has a low dome, of the Beaux-Arts style.

On the courthouse square is an original wooden Confederate flagpole, erected in 1861; the monument is 100 feet tall and is believed to be the only original Confederate flagpole still standing. The courthouse square also contains a monument to the peanut, carved in stone atop a pedestal, commemorating the enduring importance of this cash crop to the region.

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