MCCOMB — A local group is undertaking an effort to preserve Pike County’s first courthouse.
The red brick building was constructed in 1838. An annex was added in 1934, and renovations — which included the removal of two chimneys — were made in 1974. Cracks now run through the wall and floor of the old part of the building, and termite damage is evident.
The building is now known as the Holmesville Community Center and voting precinct.
Local residents are hoping for a preservation grant from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. The grant would pay 80 percent of restoration costs, with the county footing the rest. The grant application deadline is Sept. 27.
“This building, especially the original part of the building, is such a vital part of Pike County, is such a vital part of the state of Mississippi,” Trudy Berger of Summit, who helped organize the meeting this past week, told the Enterprise-Journal.
Berger says an architect is working on a cost estimate.
Supervisor Chuck Lambert said the county wants to help if it can.
“It’s going to depend on the size of the project,” Lambert said.
The brick building stands in a grass field not far from the Bogue Chitto River. Flaking red paint covers the old brick walls; white shutters frame windows; an ancient cedar tree stands at the corner.
“This is a rare example of an antebellum courthouse,” said Malcolm Allen of the Pike County Historical and Genealogical Society. “This area right here played a vital role in the War of 1812.”
Allen and other Holmesville residents plan a sign welcoming people to Holmesville, a historical marker commemorating the War of 1812, and a War of 1812 bicentennial celebration this fall.