Preservation of the Effingham County Courthouse
In 2007, the Effingham County Board vacated the historic Effingham County Courthouse and moved to a new governmental center. The historic courthouse was constructed in 1871 in the Second Empire style with a prominent mansard roof and central bell tower. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
By 2009, there was growing pressure by some local residents to raze the historic structure and turn the site into a parking lot. However, a public meeting revealed significant interest in retaining the historic courthouse. This led to formation of the Effingham County Cultural Center and Museum Association to spearhead efforts to preserve the property. Negotiations with the Effingham County Board led to a 25-year lease with the Association to preserve and manage the building. In 2012, the first floor of the courthouse opened as a museum of local history. Work currently is underway to restore the second floor of the museum.
Since establishment of the Association, volunteers have performed numerous key tasks, including the following: providing docent-led public tours; custodial and maintenance work; educational programming; electrical work; painting; artifact inventory and restoration; and many other activities. Volunteers have been involved in each step of the preservation and interpretation of the historic building and are using the structure to present and share their love of Effingham’s history with local residents and visitors.
Designated a Preserve America Steward in October 2014.