Article published May 15, 1956
Ground Broken for New Courthouse
Will Be County's 5th
Official groundbreaking ceremonies marking the start of the county's fifth Courthouse were conducted Monday morning by local court and political officials.
"We have passed the physical barrier - the point of no return," were the remarks of County Judge Charles M. Pace who spoke along with several others.
The county is building a new courthouse and jail at a cost of more than 1.5 million dollars.
Circuit Judge Bruce Littlejohn, master of ceremonies at the event, said the people of this county no longer will have to say, "We are going to build a courthouse."
"It is no longer a dream," the jurist remarked.
Ceremonies opened with the indroduction of Atty. Edwin W. Johnson by B.E. Gramling, chairman of County Board of Control. Mr. Johnson, a member of the Bar Association Courthouse Committee, in turn presented Judge Littlejohn.
The Rev. C.L. Woodard, pastor of Trinity Methodist Church, gave the invocation.
Ceremonies ended with the turning of the first shovel of dirt by Sen. Charles C. Moore. Former Sen. Howard McCravy and past and present members of County Delegation were asked to stand beside the senator for the first official breaking of the ground.
City, county and state officials turned out for the program witnessed by several hundred. Many courthouse employees left their jobs to be present for the historical event. Others perched in courthouse windows to watch.
Judge Pace said the occasion marks the physical start of this county's fifth courthouse.
"We have looked forward to the breaking of ground in our Spartanburg County enterprise of a new courthouse for nearly two decades."
The county jurist reviewed passed history of Spartanburg County and its courthouses and jails. he said Spartanburg was known as a "courthouse village" with much trading and gathering in Morgan Square.
Judge Pace said the the first courthouse, a wooden structure 20 feet by 30 feet, was completed in 1789. The first jail, completed two years earlier, was a 16-foot by 16-foot structure.
This county's first courthouse was located approximately whree the Morgan monument now stands. It served the people for 39 years.
Judge Pace said the second courthouse was erected in 1826 of stone masonary and the second jail three years earlier.
The speaker said the second Courthouse served for 30 years until 100 years ago in 1856 when a third was erected.
Judge Pace, looking at the present building. told the group it was built in 1892, the location having been changed from Morgan Square because of lack of space.
In turning the first shovel of dirt, Sen. Moore said, "This is another evidence of the onward progress of Spartanburg County." The shovel then was turned over to Lewis Chamblee, general superintendent of West Building Co. of Winston-Salem, N.C., general contractor.
In his opening remarks, Judge Littlejohn said the undertaking of any such large project is not the work of any one person.
He recalled the referendum of 1946, when the people voted to go forward with a new courthouse. Judge Littlejohn said there are many persons and groups that deserve much credit for what has been done up to this time.