11/15/05 — Duplin courtroom rededicated in ceremony Monday

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Duplin courtroom rededicated in ceremony Monday

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on November 15, 2005 1:45 PM

KENANSVILLE -- About 150 people gathered Monday in the newly-restored Courtroom No. 1 in the Duplin County Courthouse to rededicate the building and celebrate its history.

Charles Ingram, a Duplin lawyer, talked about the history of the courthouse, which was first dedicated in February 1913.

The room has served as the heart of the county since it was first built, Ingram said.

"Decisions about war and peace, cession and union were made here on this site," Ingram said. "Estates of our mothers and fathers were settled, marriages performed and orphans protected. It is here we demonstrate to the world we are capable of governing ourselves."

The county commissioners selected the current site where the courthouse now stands. The courthouse stood for 126 years before being torn down in 1911 so the currently building could be erected. The construction cost was $30,000.

The roof started leaking, and in 2004 repairs cost $144,000. Mold and asbestos removal cost $175,000 in preparation for the renovation work, which cost $1.5 million. The original part of the courthouse was restored to its original appearance, given improved acoustics and an elevator, and it was wired for computers. Ingram said it cost $40,000 to refinish the mahogany alone.

"I dare sat it looks better now than when it was first built," he said. "I love this courthouse and this courtroom. I love what they represent. ... This courthouse does not belong to the judges or the lawyers. It belongs to you, the people."