Magistrate Court  

Putnam County

Putnam's Present

 

          February 28, 2007 was a memorable day for the historic Courthouse in Putnam County.  A special session was scheduled, as the Georgia Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two different cases.    One case involved a Court of Appeals decision and the other involved an appeal of the death penalty conviction for a serial killer.   Arguments by attorneys were heard by Chief Justice LEAH WARD SEARS,  with Justice CAROL W. HUNSTEIN, Justice ROBERT BENHAM, Justice GEORGE H. CARLEY, Justice HUGH P. THOMPSON, Justice P. HARRIS HINES,  and Justice HAROLD D. MELTON.

         The courtroom was full of onlookers, students from two different schools and local dignitaries, as the highest Georgia judicial figures directed questions to the attorneys regarding the separate cases and made notes.  The scheduling of this important session was part of the Putnam County Bi-Centennial celebration.

          Chief Magistrate Ellen I. Pierce (4th from right) attended this hearing and met with the Justices during an informal luncheon.

 

 

To celebrate the construction of the historic courthouse addition, the public was invited to attend an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony on May 24, 2006 at 4:30 p.m.  The tour appeared to be a success.  Many public officials and citizens enjoyed refreshments while admiring the additions.  Chief Magistrate Ellen I. Pierce(4th from left) has been dedicated to serving the public since 1993, and has seen many changes to this historic building.  This most recent addition enables Magistrate Court to use not only an informal hearing room, but also the Courtroom located on the same floor as her office for the many civil hearings, pre-warrant hearings and other business of the Court.

 

 

 

A memorial service was conducted on the Courthouse lawn, November 21, 2006 to dedicate a marble bench and weeping cherry tree to Judge Sylvia Sanders Huskins who passed away August 15, 2006.  Judge Huskins served the public as an attorney and Magistrate Judge as well as in many other capacities over the years and continues to be missed.

                                                 

Putnam's Past

 

The land lottery of 1807 created the community of Putnam County, Georgia.  Named for General Israel Putnam of Connecticut, Mass., this area became the 13th district of the state in the lottery.  Putnam County was incorporated December 10, 1807.  Each parcel consisted of 202 acres per lottery draw.  The original lots were sold on April 18, 1808 and are the foundation of Putnam County today.

 

            Four acres were set aside in the center of the county to stand as the county Seat, this became the future site of the county’s courthouse. The first building consisted of a log structure, erected in 1810.  The county seat was named for Connecticut General William Eaton, and was incorporated December 12, 1809. By 1820 the new county had a population of 15, 475.  In comparison, the population listed for the year 2000 is listed as 18, 812.  While the population has increased more rapidly in recent years, far sighted officials began the process of anticipating changes needed to access county services.  Aware that the facility needed upgrading to keep pace with the needs of the growing population, a plan was developed that is now being utilized.

 

             Built on one of the largest public squares in Georgia, the oldest portion of the current courthouse was constructed in 1824.  It has been extensively remodeled several times. The Neoclassical Revival style was built in 1905-06.  The most recent additions, the East and West wings, were completed in 2006. The additions have been painstakingly created to reflect the history of this unique structure while enabling efficient use of technology never conceived of by the original settlers.

 
 
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