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Douglas County



Courthouse
LocationDouglasville
Date Built1997-98
Architecture Style
DesignerCooper Carry, Inc.
Seat InformationThe Oct. 17, 1870 act creating Douglas County provided that on the first Monday in November 1870, voters of the new county would elect county officers and also by ballot would select the site of the county seat (Ga. Laws 1870, p. 13). In the election, some voters chose a site near the center of the county, but a larger number voted for several different named sites (which may have been different names for the settlement known as "Skinned Chestnut" or "Skin(t) Chestnut" - the early name of Douglasville). Thinking that the majority of voters had intended Skinned Chestnut, the courthouse commissioners chose this site as county seat and proceeded to sell lots and build a courthouse. However, a group of citizens filed suit against the commissioners. The case ultimately went to the Georgia Supreme Court, which ruled against the commissioners. However, both sides agreed to postpone further action until the route of the Georgia Western Railroad through Douglas County was determined. To clear up the matter, the General Assembly enacted legislation on Feb. 28, 1874, directing that an election be held on Apr. 7, 1874, to determine the location of the county seat - but with the provision that the site be located on the Georgia Western Railroad (Ga. Laws 1874, p. 390). In the election, voters confirmed Douglasville as the county seat. On Feb. 25, 1875, the General Assembly incorporated Douglasville (Ga. Laws 1875, p. 162).
Courthouse DetailsThe legislation creating Douglas County provided that the site of the county seat by determined by election in November 1870 (Ga. Laws 1870, p. 13). Following that election, the newly elected county ordinary [today's probate judge] and John C. Bowden, W. N. Magouirk, J. H. Winn, and Ephraim Pray were designated as courthouse commissioners with responsibility for laying out the site into town lots and selling them, and using the proceeds to construct a courthouse and jail. Based on that election, the commissioners are believed to have selected a site known as "Skinned Chestnut" - which they thought was what a majority of voters wanted (though the decision resulted in a legal challenge). Here, in 1871, the courthouse commissioners began selling town lots and had a three-room wooden courthouse built. In March 1879, county officials voted to change the shape and size of the courthouse square. In 1880, construction began on a new two-story brick courthouse on the newly enlarged courthouse square. Because of faulty baking of the brick and poor quality mortar, the building began crumbling in a few years, and the courthouse was abandoned in 1884. What served as courthouse for the next twelve years is unclear, but in 1896 a large, two-story brick courthouse with clock tower was completed on the site of the former courthouse . Designed by architect Andrew J. Bruere & Co., this courthouse served the county for the next sixty years. On Jan. 11, 1956, the old courthouse was destroyed by fire. In a special bond election in June 1956, Douglas County voters approved construction of a new courthouse. The new courthouse was built on the site of the previous three courthouses. Designed by Southern Engineering of Atlanta, the contemporary-styled structure appeared to be a single story from the front - but because it was built on the top of a hill actually was two stories encompassing 52 rooms and over 36,000 square feet. By the mid-1990s, Douglas County had grown so large in population that county government offices were located in seven different buildings in downtown Douglasville. County voters subsequently approved a special-purpose local-option sales tax to fund construction of a new county government complex. As to its location, one possibility was to tear down the 1957 courthouse and build a new and larger building on the old courthouse square. However, the square was too small. Equally important, the old courthouse was located across the street from the railroad, and noise from passing trains frequently interrupted court sessions. So, county officials selected a 50-acre site about a half mile away to build the new complex. Construction began in 1997 and was completed in February 1998. Subsequently, the old courthouse became a local museum and home to the Douglas County Historical Society and other community organizations.
County Data
Population132,403
Population 200092,174
Population Growth43.6
County SeatDouglasville
County Area200.3 Square Miles
Location MapDouglas County Location Map
History

Douglas County was created from Campbell and Carroll counties on Oct. 17, 1870 by an act of the General Assembly (Ga. Laws 1870, p. 13). Subsequently, Douglas County’s borders with Carroll, Cobb, and Paulding counties were adjusted by acts in 1871, 1874, and 1877. Georgia’s 133rd county was named for Illinois U.S. Senator Stephen Douglas (1847-1861). Douglas ran unsuccessfully as the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee in 1860 with Georgia’s Herschel Johnson as his running mate.

Web SiteVisit Web Site
Legal OrganDouglas County Sentinel
Chamber of Commerce Web SiteVisit Web Site
Historical Population
YearPopulation
2010 132,403
2000 92,174
1990 71,120
1980 54,573
1970 28,659
1960 16,741
1950 12,173
1940 10,053
1930 9,461
1920 10,477
1910 8,953
1900 8,745
1890 7,794
1880 6,934