Fannin County courthouse in Blue Ridge
|Location: Blue Ridge |
Date Built: 2001-2004
The act creating Fannin County authorized the justices of the county's inferior court to select a county seat and provide for construction of a courthouse and other public buildings. Until such action was taken, the act directed that county business and elections take place at Joab Addington's Store. Fannin County's first courthouse, a small wooden structure, was built in Morgantown. Little is known about when, except that it reportedly burned down. In 1895, the county seat was moved to the town of Blue Ridge, where a two-story brick courthouse was built in 1895-96 (see photo 1
and photo 2
). The courthouse burned in 1936, and a new courthouse was completed the following year funded by the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works (see photo
In 2000, Fannin County voters approved a special-purpose local option sales tax to finance construction of a new courthouse and jail complex next door to the 1937 courthouse. An architect was selected in November 2000, with construction beginning the following year. Construction of the new courthouse was completed and the new building occupired in the spring of 2004. In July 2004, theBlue Ridge Mountain Arts Association began leasing the old courthouse, which was renamed The Georgia Mountain Center for the Arts.
County Courthouse Historical Marker: Click here
Fannin County was created from Gilmer and Union counties on Jan. 21, 1854 by an act of the General Assembly (Ga. Laws 1853-54, p. 298). That legislation specified Fannin County's boundaries as:
Beginning at the North-west corner of Lot No. 163, 27th District, 2d Section, thence South to the South-west corner of Lot No. 180, 27th District, 2d Section, thence East to Lot No. 9 in the 7th District and 2d Section, thence on a straight line to the South-east corner of the 7th District and 2d Section, thence South with the district line to Lot No. 9 in the 6th District and 1st Section, thence North-east with the Blue Ridge to Lot No. 228, thence in a straight line to William Cavender's in the county of Union, thence due North to the top of the Ridge dividing the waters of Tacoah and Notley rivers, thence along the top of the said dividing Ridge North west to the head of Dooly Creek, thence in a North direction along the top of the main ridge to the North Carolina line at or near Jesse Raper's, thence along the North Carolina line to the line dividing Tennessee and Georgia, thence along said line to the starting point. [Note: Instead of lot 228, as noted above, the 1854 act specified lot "162 on the district line between 5th and 6th of the 1st Section at the Lumpkin line." However, in 1891, the legislature replaced this quoted language with "228" stating that reference to lot 162 in the 1854 act had been a "clerical error" (Ga. Laws 1890-91, p. 240).]
Georgia's 107th county was named for Col. James Fannin (1804-1836), a Georgian who fought in the War for Texas Independence and was killed at Goliad.
The legislation creating Fannin County directed the justices of the county's inferior court to select the location of the county seat, with the only stipulation that the site be as near the center of the county as practicable. Until a county seat was designated and a courthouse built, the act directed that county business and elections take place at Joab Addington's Store. Subsequently, the inferior court designated Morganton as county seat. Reportedly, James Morris, an early settler, named Morganton after his previous hometown of Morganton, North Carolina. On March 5, 1856, the General Assembly incorporated Morganton (Ga. Laws 1855-56, p. 353). In June 1895, two-fifths of the voters of Fannin County signed a petition to change the county seat to the town of Blue Ridge. On Aug. 13, 1895, a referendum was held in which over two-thirds of the voters approved removal of the county seat. Based on that election, the General Assembly enacted legislation on Dec. 13, 1895, changing the county seat from Morganton to Blue Ridge (Ga. Laws 1895, p. 420). Blue Ridge, named for the Blue Ridge Mountains, had been incorporated by the legislature by an act of Oct. 24, 1887 (Ga. Laws 1887, p. 647).