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Courthouse war: part three

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Despite the protests of fiscally concerned citizens, in 1876 the Wayne County commissioners proceeded to tear down the old 1840s courthouse to build a new one.

The anti-courthouse group held court temporarily in Liberty Hall and Weaver’s Hotel (now Van Gorders’ Furniture). Judge Waller was impeached (not entirely because of the courthouse, although it was certainly a factor) and acquitted by the legislature in 1878. Even after the old courthouse was gone, the commissioners’ attempts to raise money were thwarted by the associate judges. The tide began to turn in the autumn of 1878, when courthouse opponents realized that the old courthouse was gone and the new one halfway toward completion. By May 1879, contracts were signed to complete the building by the end of the year. A plaque was placed at the entrance honoring the commissioners, builder and architect. It still stands, no longer stained by the tobacco juice of disgruntled opponents. The courthouse still stands, of course, and is currently being upgraded by commissioners who are aware of the need to modernize and yet still recognize its colorful history.

From the collection of the Wayne County Historical Society, 810 Main St., Honesdale. The museum, research library and museum shop are Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a. m. to 4 p.m.

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