Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Court House

American Friend, January 10, 1822

Mr. Prentiss - You are requested to publish the following copy of a petition to the Commissioners of this county, relative to the proposed location and plan of a new Court house, and oblige MANY.

To the Honorable the Board of Commissioners for the County of Washington, State of Ohio.

The undersigned inhabitants of said Washington county, having understood, that in pursuance of resolutions, plans and calculations of former boards, the present board contemplate the erection of a new court house near the scite of the old one, to be raised on arches intended for fire proof rooms, beg leave to submit a few considerations, tending to evince the propriety of a reconsideration by the present board, of said resolutions, plans and calculations.

In the prosecution of an undertaking which must doubtless involve the county for many years in debt and embarrassment, we ought at least to have the consolation of believing that the cause of such embarrassment might be traced to some object of permanent usefulness, planned and executed in a manner most prudent and advantageous.  We proceed to point out our objections to the proposed location and plan of a court house.

We do not think the proposed situation the most eligible.

1st.  On account of mud, to avoid which will require considerable expense.
2d.  Greater exposedness to fire.
3d.  Danger of inconvenience from inundations.  The ground now marked out has been nearly or quite covered with water; it has been proved by the experience of ages, that as a country becomes more cleared of wood the inundations have a progressive increase in height.
4th.  The want of sufficient and eligible room for the separate erection of the fire proof offices.

This, we apprehend, may have been one reason for connecting them with the court house - otherwise it might be necessary to place them on ground which has been overflowed.  The location of these offices on spots of the dryest soil and beyond the reach of high water, we consider a matter of the highest consequence.

In these offices are to be preserved the records of our land titles, the decisions of our courts, the settlements of our estates and all records and decisions of our county officers - involving interests of personal liberty, and of property to an incalculable amount.  That these should be kept safely, it is necessary they should be kept dry.  These offices must be constructed with brick or stone walls of considerable thickness.  If the court rooms be built over them, this thickness must be increased.  Should even the foundations of such massy walls be soaked by inundations the dampness will pervade all the ground rooms, and even desks, closets, and cases, for months.  We forbear to press on your consideration, that the plan of placing the arches of these offices under a ponderous structure above, is considered by many as a doubtful and hazardous experiment, and involving a larger extent of building and much greater expense than would be required for their separate and more safe construction.

We therefore recommend that the upper elevated square in Marietta, called Capitolium, situate on Washington street, and reserved by the Ohio Company for public buildings, be taken as the place whereon to erect a court house, as being free from the above objections, and possessing the following additional recommendations.

1st.  The natural elevation & beauty of the situation.
2d.  The artificial elevation and ancient works.
3d.  There being ample room for the erection of new buildings, to accommodate those whose business may lead them to settle near the court house.
4th.  Being more out of the way of that crowd of loiterers which usually infest the court house.
5th.  The consequent increase, of the town, which we consider to be intimately connected with the prosperity of the country, in the increase of business, and the augmented demand for produce.  The natural advantages of Marietta are confessedly much beyond its present advance in improvement.  Should the beautiful building ground on the plain become occupied, many obvious advantages would arise to the town and country.

The principal objection we have heard to this spot is, that those who attend Court could not find accommodation.  But we conceive that all who are necessarily called to Court may, even now, find convenient accommodation within reasonable distance - and that further preparation would undoubtedly advance in proportion to its need.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

No comments: