History of Union County's Court House
In 1899, under a Special Board of Commissioners, a new two-story Court House with clock tower was built in the town square. All of the Special Commissioners were Confederate Veterans.
W. Souther - Crawford's Company, Ben Ledford's Cavalry Regiment
J. A. Butt [senior] - Company E, 65th Georgia Volunteer Infantry Regiment
W. W. Erwin - Company B, 6th Georgia Volunteer Cavalry Regiment
The 1832 act creating Union County gave the new justices of the Inferior Court authority to select a county seat and erect a Court House and other county buildings. Until that action was taken, elections and court sessions were to be held at the house of Isaac N. Greer. His home was evidently in the Fairview area, east of the present Blairsville, on Coosa Creek. The Union County Post Office from 1832 to 1835 was the Coosa Courthouse. In 1835, the Georgia Legislature name Blairsville the County Seat and the Post Office was moved to Blairsville.
At some point, a log Court House was built in Blairsville. It is believed to have burned in 1859 and was replaced by a two-story brick vernacular-style building, which served until 1898. After a fire in the court house, it was deemed "unfit and unsafe."
Designed by architect J.W. Golucke & Stewart, the Romanesque Revival-style Court House is similar to a number of other court houses in Georgia but the 1899 Union County Court House has a touch of infamy in its history. A noted architect of the day, Golucke was arrested (perhaps erroneously) for fraud in another project and later died in jail. The taxes to pay for the new Court House were levied all in one year, bringing serious hardship to the economically strapped county; many residents had to sell their cattle and land to pay their unusually large tax bills. The bricks were made and fired at the site of the current (2006) Blairsville Post Office .
The courthouse suffered years of neglect and was in serious disrepair from the 1920’s on. In 1960 the two-ton clock and bell tower was removed due to structural instability. In 1971, the Court House was condemned as unsafe -- but residents were successful in convincing the county's sole commissioner not to tear the historic building down. Thereafter, county court sessions were held in the local civic center, while other county officials continued in the old Court House or moved to rented office space in several downtown buildings.
Through the dedicated efforts of the Historical Society, the handsome brick and granite structure still stands at the heart of the town square, a landmark now serving as a local history museum and cultural center. The clock and bell tower was replicated and replaced in November 2000.
The beautifully restored courtroom on the second floor still functions occasionally for city and county court. But on Friday evenings in the summer and fall, it rings with the delightful sounds of our mountain musicians. The Court House clock chimes the time each day, much as it did at the beginning of the last century. Though the traffic around the square has changed in nature and quantity, the building on the square remains substantially the same.