Courthouse will be future museum

Published 11:45 am Thursday, November 7, 2019

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Polk commissioners approve resolution for future use of courthouse

COLUMBUS—If and when Polk County ever constructs a new courthouse, the current, historic courthouse will be donated to the Polk County Historical Museum. 

The Polk County Board of Commissioners met Monday and approved a resolution to gift the current courthouse to the museum when the county constructs a new courthouse. 

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Polk County Historical Association President Pat McCool spoke during citizen comments and said he knows the proposal is down the line and it will not happen in the next few years, but the museum would like to move into the courthouse when the county is ready to build a new one. 

He said Polk County’s courthouse is one of the 8th oldest still in use today and 6 of them are used as museums. Polk County’s courthouse is one of only 14 in the state built before the Civil War. Polk County’s courthouse was built in 1859. The Civil War began in 1861. 

Commissioner Chair Tommy Melton requested that the resolution be placed on Monday’s agenda. 

Commissioner vice chair Myron Yoder motioned to approve the resolution, saying that if the county ever builds a new courthouse they will gift the old courthouse to the museum. 

“I love it,” Yoder said. “I think that is one of the only things we can do (with the courthouse).” 

Commissioner Ray Gasperson said the county has a good example of how this works with the House of Flags Museum. 

“That building is owned by Polk County and it doesn’t cost the county anything,” Gasperson said. “They did a major expansion/renovation and they paid for all of that. 

Commissioners approved the resolution unanimously. Melton said the current board approved the resolution, but that does not mean that a future board has to do what the resolution states. 

“I think it would be wonderful if the historical museum was located in the courthouse,” Melton said. “(The museum) is a step back in time.” 

Following is the resolution county commissioners approved on Monday: 

Resolution of Desire to Lease the Historic Polk County

Courthouse to the Polk County Historical Association

Whereas, the Polk County Historical Association (the “PCHA”) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose purpose is to preserve, promote, advance, encourage and cultivate public and private interest in the history, archives and memoirs of Polk County, North Carolina and to provide a location for a museum to provide for the collection and preservation of Polk County artifacts, and

Whereas, the PCHA has established a Genealogy Center within the Polk County Historical Museum to allow Polk County Citizens to research their family history and enable them to retain a record of their ancestry, and

Whereas, the PCHA receives no public funds and relies entirely on donations from the community to operate and maintain the Polk County Historical Museum.

Now therefore, the Polk County Board of Commissioners does recommend that when Polk County builds a new courthouse, the present courthouse, which is listed on the National Historic Register and one of the oldest courthouses in North Carolina, be leased to the Polk County Historical Association for the purposes of operating a museum and housing associated offices with the understanding that a portion of the courthouse may be reserved by the county for county offices if the county so chooses, and the amount of annual lease payments and maintenance responsibilities shall be determined by the then sitting Polk County Board of


Adopted this the 4th day of November 2019.