A sad modern courthouse, grand and functional clock towers replaced with radio towers.....
Date Built: 1956
Architectural Style: Modern
Designer: W. Conner Thomson
The 1858 act creating Echols County named Harris Tomlinson, Guilford Register, and William B. Cruise as commissioners with authority to select the site and purchase land for location of the county seat. The legislation further provided that voters of the county assemble at the town of Troublesome on the first Monday in April 1859 and elect county officials. If, by the time of the election, the commissioners had not selected a county seat, the newly elected justices of the inferior court would be empowered to select the county seat. In 1859, either the commissioners or the inferior court designated Statenville as county seat. The settlement had been named for the community's first store owner, Capt. James Staten. The General Assembly incorporated Statenville by an act of Dec. 13, 1859 (Ga. Laws 1859, p. 200). (Unfortunately, the act incorrectly identified the new town as "Statesville" rather than "Statenville" -- a mistake that has never been corrected. Nevertheless, highway maps and local residents identify the town as "Statenville.")
In 1958, the General Assembly approved a local act redrawing the boundaries of Statenville. According to the legislation, the town's new boundaries consisted of the Echols County courthouse square -- meaning that the city had no official population. In 1965, the legislature approved a local act giving Statenville a new city charter (and one that spelled its name correctly). The legislation required approval in a referendum, but Statenville voters turned down the new charter.
By the early 1990s, Statenville was one of over 100 official towns that provided few if any services to their citizens. Some of these towns had long been inactive-- but legally they retained the status of an incorporated municipality. In an effort to deal with this problem, the General Assembly enacted legislation mandating that any incorporated city in Georgia must provide its citizens with at least three municipal services or lose its charter (O.C.G.A. sec. 36-30-7.1). Though given a grace period to comply, over 100 small or inactive towns -- including Statenville -- lost their municipal charters on July 1, 1995. At that point, they became unincorporated communities under the jurisdiction of their county governments. Today, Echols, Columbia, and Crawford are the only Georgia counties with an unincorporated community serving as county seat.