Note: The following is one of a series of articles looking at the origins of the formation of Bulloch County.)
In the April 5, 1894 issue of the Bulloch Times, it was revealed that “Judge Martin and architect H.G. Everitt returned Saturday evening from their tour of inspection of courthouses.”
Having visited and inspected three fine new buildings, and gathered ideas from their all, they have decided upon a plan which the Judge says is sure to please — a regular daisy.”
The rooms are all large and well ventilated and lighted, and the structure, should this plan be adopted, will present a grand and imposing appearance. The whole county would feel justly proud of our public buildings.”
Then, the June 7, 1894 Bulloch Times disclosed 14 bids were received, from the highest bid of Brown & Graber’s of Brunswick at $28,000 to the lowest bid of $16,945 from L.L. Nunn and Co. of Atlanta.
After Nunn failed to submit his bid with the required $100 deposit, McKenzie got the bid. An adjustment of $90 granite for the foundation was added, making the sum total of the contract $17,700.
This same Bulloch Times had another article which stated “The old courthouse was put up and sold at public sale to the highest bidder last Tuesday.” W.H. Blitch paid $120 for the building.
The Bulloch Ordinary reserving two small rooms in the rear for his use until the new building is completed. The brick offices in the rear of the court house sold for $200 to the new building’s contractor.
The book “The Georgia Courthouse Manual,” published by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (1992) listed the pertinent data about the current Bulloch County Courthouse.
The Bulloch County courthouse underwent Neoclassical Revival alterations in 1914. The architect selected for the update was J. de Bruyn Kops.
The Bulloch Times-Statesboro News-Statesboro Eagle issue for July 3, 1947 had the article entitled "With Face Being Lifted Court House Clock Talks of Past," as it itself has undergone many corrections.
The National Historic Register application, stamped Feb. 29, 1980, stated, "The clock tower of the early Queen Anne design remains with gables over splayed arches containing the clock faces and a pyramid cap."
It stated that "When the courthouse was completed (in 1894), there was no clock in the tower, and Statesboro cried out for one. Judge Martin, thrifty old soul, told Statesboro to buy a clock if she wanted one."
And, "Then, Judge Martin directed the clock's face should show sun-time- — the kind of time people of Statesboro lived by all of their days. Statesboro (was in) Middle standard time zone, (36) minutes behind sun-time."
As "Statesboro had the Dover & Statesboro railroad, which operated by Middle standard time, Statesboro wanted to be modern — but Judge Martin said no."
That being stated, "the clock was set at sun-time in recognition of the rights of rural people who arose. (Then), some years after this Statesboro was transferred to Eastern standard, (one) hour ahead of Central standard."
Now, "the clock was 24 minutes out of line. Then later some wise-acre in authority gave us daylight saving time, and we were an hour and 24 minutes off."
As it happens, "All those years, the clock in the courthouse tower has gone right on, like "Ol' Man River," just marking the time. It sort of stumped us the other morning when we looked up and saw its face had been lifted."
So, "We wondered what sort of new-fangled ideas it would bring us when it comes back! Today the clock is back clean as a whistle, and its hands and face and heart are marking time forward and backward!"
Roger Allen is a local lover of history who provides a brief look each week at the area's past. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.