Etowah County’s second courthouse

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This week, The Vagabond while at the Etowah Historical Society found another old document (note: If the readers have any old document of interesting history, please bring them to the historical society! I want to thank Forrest Lambert for bringing in a ton of Alabama books as well as the entire set of the War of the Rebellion, old maps and atlases for our library).

The document was the contract amendment papers for Etowah County’s second courthouse. (The first was built in 1870.) This second one was built in 1890 and lasted until around 1950, when the present courthouse was built on Forrest Avenue. It stood on Broad and 4th Streets. 

The four-page contract reads:

“Court House Contract, The State of Alabama, Etowah County

“This contract and agreement between Gwin, Hicks & Lane Contractors and builders of the one part and Etowah County one of the counties of the state of Alabama acting by and through its court of County Commissioners of the other part witnesseth [sic] that the said Gwin, Hicks & Lane on their part agree and undertake to construct and finish in all its parts a Court House for said Etowah County according to specifications (Except the large water tank and water closets) as amended as hereinafter shown prepared by John A. Scott architect. 

“And do all the brick and carpenter work necessary as shown on the plan and specifications given by F.M. Hight & Company for introduction of Ruttan system of warming and ventilation of said specifications together with the plans, designs, drawings and etc. therein refered to and in the hands of said Court of County Commissioners are hereby made a part of this contract, the work and material shall conform in all respects to said specifications with the following amendments or changes. 

“The foundation both for outer and inner walls shall be of stone instead of brick. Said foundation to be according to plans and specifications to be furnished by the superintendent.

“The roof on the Tower dormers and mansard shall be of good heavy tin shingles. The remainder of roof shall be of good quality of heavy re-dipped tin.

“In all outside brickwork pressed brick of good quality shall be used. All inside walls above footings shall be constructed of good, hard, machine-made brick.

“The above changes being set out in the contract shall not prevent the making of other changes as provided in the said specifications. All the work and material to be inspected and approved by the superintendent as the work progresses as provided in specifications.

“For the consideration herein after set out, said Gwin, Hicks & Lane agree & undertake to turn over the building to the Court of the County Commissioners on or before the 22nd day of August 1891 as provided in said specifications. 

“Etowah County on its part in consideration of the faithful and full performance of the foregoing undertaking by said Gwin, Hicks & Lane the sum of Forty Six thousand and Five hundred dollars ($46,500) Payments to be made as follows to wit: Twenty several installments of Two Thousand Dollars each will be paid by warrants on the County Treasurer to be issued as the work progresses. That is when the work has progressed proportionally to the extent, the first warrant of the $2,000.00 shall issue and so on until the Twenty warrants shall have been issued and when the building is finished and received a warrant for the remainder $6,500.00 Dollars shall issue.

“September the 5th, 1890, Gwin, Hicks & Lane; For the County:D.G. McCauley, J.W. Miller; J.A. Tallman, Judge of Probate.” 

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