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Grand reopening of the Chatham County 1881 Courthouse on April 20

Posted Thursday, April 18, 2013

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Pittsboro, NC - The Grand Reopening of the Chatham County 1881 Courthouse on April 20, 2013 will be an eventful day in and around the traffic circle, with the opening of the new Historical Association Museum at 10:30 am and public tours of the courthouse.

The public can take advantage of tours led by the architects at either 10:30 am or 11:30 am and should meet at the north portico near the statue. Self-guided tours are available from 10:30 am-noon and 3-5 pm. Those who want to see the repainted Earl of Chatham portrait should visit the courthouse from 3-5 pm after the portrait has been unveiled.

Between 10:30 am and 5 pm, people can visit the Historical Museum and get commemorative reopening souvenirs.

“I know folks will be very disappointed, but the actual reopening ceremony at 1:30 pm ended up being a reserved event,” said Debra Henzey in the County Manager’s Office. “The capacity of that room is limited and we have many special guests, including folks with decades of working in the courthouse, a long family history with the courthouse, others who played a key role in its rebuilding and or making the new museum possible.”

Henzey added, “We do not want people to expect a seat in the opening ceremony when that is not going to happen, but instead hope they will enjoy being part of the many other fun things happening that day.”

The ceremony will be videotaped and available online beginning Monday, April 22. Look for a link on the main county webpage at
All county government parking lots are available for courthouse visitors as well as a lot on Salisbury Street just west of Hillsboro Street (old PTA Thrift Store lot) and the old Chevrolet dealership lot on US 15-501 North just north of Chatham Mills. Chatham Transit will run free shuttles from the old Chevy dealership every 15 minutes from noon to 3:30 pm.

Those who have mobility issues should use the north portico entrance of the courthouse and should park in the Dunlap Building lot on East Street between Hardee’s and the BP station.

The Chatham Artists Guild is recognizing the courthouse reopening by sponsoring an Artist Walk in downtown Pittsboro on Hillsboro Street. Vangi Cathcart said that 22 merchants and 25 artists have agreed to display art in store windows on April 13-May 5. The art walk will extend up from the courthouse to Pittsboro Antiques on both sides of the street.

The schedule is:

  • 10:30 am-5 pm Grand Opening of Chatham County Historic Association Museum, first floor
  • 10:30 am –noon Self-guided tours of the courthouse
  • 10:30 am & 11:30 am Guided tours led by Taylor and Grimsley Hobbs, Hobbs Architects. Meet at the portico entrance near the statue.
  • Noon-1:15 pm Brass ensemble music from the portico
  • 1:30-2:45 pm Reopening Ceremony but few, if any, seats will be available
  • 1-3:30 pm Light refreshments outside
  • 2:45-3 pm Rededication of cornerstone, Columbus Lodge 102, outside
  • 3-5 pm Self-guided tours of the courthouse and view the new portrait of the Earl of Chatham in the courtroom
  • 5:30-9:30 pm Town of Pittsboro’s Street Celebration on Hillsboro Street

Also on April 20, Chatham County’s Solid Waste & Recycling Office is sponsoring its Earth Day Celebration. Most events end at 1 pm. For more information, visit:

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Grand reopening of the Chatham County 1881 Courthouse on April 20