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Colquitt County



Courthouse
County Courthouse View large image

Source: David Seibert

LocationMoultrie
Date Built1902
Architecture StyleNeoclassical Revival
DesignerAndrew J. Bryan & Co.
Seat InformationThe act creating Colquitt County authorized the justices of the county's first inferior court to select a site for the county seat, purchase the land, lay it off into town lots, sell the lots, and use the proceeds to construct a courthouse and other public buildings. Initial court sessions were held in the Mims House, located four miles northwest of the small settlement of Ochlockoney (present-day Moultrie). Shortly afterwards, the inferior court selected Ochlockoney, located on the Ochlockonee River in the center of the new county, as county seat. On Dec. 13, 1859, the General Assembly incorporated Ochlockonee and renamed it Moultrie (Ga. Laws 1859, p. 187). The name change was to honor Gen. William Moultrie (1730)-1805), a hero of the American Revolution who later served two terms as governor of South Carolina.
Courthouse DetailsAt the time of Colquitt County's creation on February 25, 1856, there were no incorporated towns in the new county. Initially, superior court sessions were held in a large one-story wooden house built by George Tucker on Land Lot 196 in the Eighth Land District . Known as "Mim's House," the temporary courthouse was located four miles northwest of the small settlement of Ochlockoney. Shortly afterwards, the justices of the new inferior court desginated Ochlockoney as county seat. At some point between 1856 and 1859, the court authorized construction of a "sizeable log building" to serve as Colquitt County's first real courthouse. In 1859, the General Assembly incorporated the settlement at Ochlockoney and named it Moultrie. The legislation designated that the new city consist of the fifty acres surrounding the courthouse. Unfortunately, the log courthouse burned in the spring of 1881, with all land deeds and other county records destroyed. Thereafter, litigation continued for years over land ownership and boundaries in Colquitt County. According to a local newspaper account, "Shortly after the fire a one-story, box-like building was erected of unfinished timbers, with the boards running up and down-and covered with strips of lumber to keep out the cold and wind." After a few years, the building was sold to local Methodists for use as a church. The building was removed and in its place a new two-story wooden courthouse constructed . Rectangular in shape, a wing was later added, creating an "L" shaped structure. During the 1890s, Colquitt County's population almost tripled due to the rapid growth of timber and naval stores industries. By 1898, county officials were calling for a larger courthouse. They were also fearful of another courthouse fire. So, in 1901, officials decided to build a larger and safer structure. The courthouse was dismantled and sold to a local resident. Bids for construction of new two-story brick courthouse were opened on April 6, 1901, and the project was awarded to J.H. Harris for his bid of $19,250. (see early photo). Construction of the new courthouse was completed in August 1902, with county officials moving in on September 1. In 1938, the federal Work Project Administration proposed modernizing the 1902 courthouse, including adding four more stories (with the top floor to serve as the jail). The WPA would pay 45 percent of the cost, with Colquitt County responsible for the remainder. County commissioners were tempted to accept the offer, but in the end declined because the county was already in debt because of the Depression. As a result, the Work Project Administration undertook a less ambitious courthouse restoration in 1940. In 1952, county officials had the courthouse's tan brick exterior painted white (see photo). Four years later, in conjunction with Colquitt County's centennial, county commissioners authorized a complete remodeling and modernization of the courthouse in 1956-57 at a cost of $285,000. Using convict labor, the interior of the building was stripped to the first floor, and a new second and third floor created - with 12-foot ceilings instead of the former height of 20 feet. The original windows were bricked up, and new smaller windows installed for each floor. Also, some of the distinctive architectural features of the 1902 building were removed. In 1994, residents of Colquitt County approved a one cent local option sales tax to renovate the courthouse. In 1998, a major rehabilitation of the courthouse was begun. Completed in March 2001, the $1,889,000 project replaced many of the features of the 1902 courthouse removed in the 1950s - though not restoring the interior to two main floors. Unfortunately, some of the wood used in the 1998-2001 rehabilitation soon began to rot, requiring further rehabilitation in 2005. In 2001, county officials authorized construction of a new two-story courthouse annex, with work completed in 2003 .
County Data
Population45,498
Population 200042,053
Population Growth8.2
County SeatMoultrie
County Area556.6 Square Miles
Location MapColquitt County Location Map
History

Colquitt County was created on Feb. 25, 1856 by an act of the General Assembly (Ga. Laws 1855-56, p. 108). Created from Lowndes and Thomas counties, Colquitt’s original boundaries were designated as:

  SECTION I. Be it enacted, &c., That from and after the first day of April next a new county shall be laid out and organized from the counties of Thomas and Lowndes, including the eighth district of originally Irwin now Thomas county and all that portion of the ninth district of originally Irwin now Lowndes lying west of Little river to where the river crosses the dividing line, between Lots of Land Nos. 443 and 444, in the 9th district, thence south to the district line between the 9th and 12th districts.

Georgia’s 115th county was named for U.S. Sen. Walter T. Colquitt (1799-1855), who died the previous year.

Web SiteVisit Web Site
Legal OrganThe Moultrie Observer
Chamber of Commerce Web SiteVisit Web Site
Historical Population
YearPopulation
2010 45,498
2000 42,053
1990 36,645
1980 35,376
1970 32,298
1960 34,048
1950 33,999
1940 33,012
1930 30,622
1920 29,332
1910 19,789
1900 13,636
1890 4,794
1880 2,527
1870 1,654
1860 1,316