PURVIS, Miss. - After being closed for several years, the Lamar County Circuit Courthouse is now officially back open and ready for business.
This day, 109 years ago on April 4, Gov. James K. Vardaman swore in the first ever appointed officers of Lamar County. To honor that historic event county officials picked today to do the dedication ceremony inside the courtroom.
"This is the one and only historic structure for Lamar County from a government side.," said Chuck Bennett, administrator for the county.
He said the walls of this courthouse hold a lot of history
"You have the 1908 tornado that's famous,"he said. "The courthouse was the morgue back then and there was a murder here in 1915."
There was also the 1935 fire that Ruby Palmer witnessed while she was a courthouse employee.
"Somebody came and told us the top of the courthouse was on fire," Palmer said. "We grabbed all the office drawers and carried them downstairs."
She said looking back from that day to now, she's glad to see the courthouse fully restored. One of the most unique treasures, adding back the old clock tower.
"It's a clock on all four sides," Bennett said.
Judge Prentiss Harrell, of the 15 Circuit Court, used the courtroom for the first time Monday. He said now, all the jurors have their own monitors they can use to view evidence.
"It eliminates old fashion chalkboards, the diagrams and it should be real plus in the efficiency of the courthouse," he said.
Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Mike Randolph spoke at the ceremony. He said this is a starting point to move Lamar County forward.
"So now we got the building restored, all the people serving here, they need to rededicate themselves," said Randolph.
The courthouse was built originally back in 1905.