For this Courthouse Tour, Ken came up with an aggressive plan.
Hit every courthouse between Lake City and Pensacola.
That is 22 county courthouses, plus one that moved from one town to another and we even added the Florida Supreme Courthouse in Tallahassee.
Day one saw us starting at the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park, where our friend Jim volunteers as a blacksmith in the park.
I arrived early and spent time drinking a beer by the Suwannee River.
Jim treated us along with his wife Grace and several of the other park volunteers to dinner of local BBQ. It was tasty.
In the morning, Jim joined me and Ken for the first two stops, beginning at the Hamilton County Courthouse in Jasper.
It was a pathetic, ugly, poor quality building in the little town. Certainly the worst building we have seen.
Then to one of the best, the Madison County Courthouse in Madison.
After touring this courthouse, we had breakfast and sent Jim back to his blacksmithing.
Ken and I moved west along US 90 to Monticello and the Jefferson County Courthouse.
This one is in the middle of an old round-a-bout, so they are stuck with it's size and shape.
That is a good thing as it is a beauty.
From there we ventured into Tallahassee, where we first came upon the Capitol building, a very phallic tower with the domes of the two houses flanking. Luckily they kept the historic Capitol to save the day.
We found the huge county courthouse where we stayed outside.
From there we went to the State Supreme Courthouse where a security officer rushed out to tell us to get our scooters off the sidewalk.
Ken talked with him enough to let him know that we were harmless. Then he offered to take us on a tour but we were tired of Tallahassee and moved on to the next County Seat.
That was Crawfordville and the Wakulla County Courthouse.
Their courthouse was built in 1942 as a two story structure replacing the only wood frame courthouse in the Tri-State region of Florida, Georgia and Alabama.
The new building had an unfortunate addition added in the 1960's and is now a mess. But the old wooden building is a gem.
We got a tour by Petra, who works at the chamber of commerce with an office in the building.
We got a wonderful tour of the new building as well by Joe, the man in charge. He took us everywhere and had interesting stories to tell.
You may wonder why we chose to visit the courthouses.
It is because, as an architect, I found these to be fine buildings that tell a story about the prosperity and growth of each county and community.
When built in the early 1900's, each historic courthouse was the finest building in each town. They were all well designed and built, and when maintained have held up to serve the needs of the courts for over 100 years in most cases.
The prosperous counties have outgrown their historic courthouses, often adding to the building or building new.
The smart counties saved the old building, building the new one next door or across the street.
I believe that Ken's reason for visiting these courthouses is meeting the people working inside.
We have talked with numerous security guards and bailiffs, a few county clerks and even one judge.
The Suwannee River.
The hideous Hamilton County Courthouse in Jasper.
Approaching the Jefferson County Courthouse in Monticello.
The really big Leon County Courthouse in Tallahassee.
The Supreme Court of Florida, where the man rushing out of the door was telling us to move our scooters.
The old wood frame courthouse in Crawfordville.
And the new one. Luckily, Joe gave us a great tour.
Ken approaching the Capitol building in Tallahassee. What were they thinking?