178-year-old courthouse in Morgan County needs new floors

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MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - There's a new structure going up on the grounds of a historic courthouse in Morgan County.

It's a brand-new gazebo designed to draw in people to summer fundraisers to support the centerpiece of Somerville.

Mayor Darren Tucker of Somerville rings the bell inside the Cupola at the historic courthouse at least once a year.  "This courthouse is 178 years old this year but it was built on timbers," he said. "After 178 years it's just settled and because of the settling and the drainage under there, it's caused the floors to buckle."

The ground floor has sunk in the center by about 6 inches.

Mayor Tucker said an architectural engineer recommended pulling it up and adding concrete reinforcement underneath. He says that, adding a handicapped accessible bathroom, and some kitchen improvements would cost $170,000.

And that's where the new gazebo comes in. It will host all kinds of summer activities, starting in May, to raise money for the courthouse floors.

"It's our centerpiece. That's what we refer to it as. So we want to do everything we can to preserve it for future generations," said Tucker.

And it's not just for looks. "We have court here once a month," he explained.

Despite its age, Tucker wanted to be a working courthouse again, so the community can enjoy it's precious history in a modern world.

The city is paying for the gazebo.

The first summer community event will be May 1st. It's the Somerville Celebration. Then, they'll hold concerts at the gazebo every Tuesday night during the summer.

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