1858 Courthouse Museum 150th Anniversary Celebration Events

...the best we ever saw...

...the best we ever saw... : The early court houses of Davidson County, North Carolina/ by J. M. (Jim) Daniel, produced and published by Davidson County Historical Museum [pbk.] by Daniel, J. M.

Lexington, NC : J.M. Daniel and the Davidson County Historical Museum, 2008. 2008.


  • Architecture -- North Carolina -- Davidson County.
  • Courthouses -- North Carolina -- History -- 19th century.
  • Courthouses -- North Carolina -- History -- 20th century.
  • Public architecture -- North Carolina -- History -- 19th century.
  • Public architecture -- North Carolina -- History -- 20th century.
  • Davidson County (N.C.) -- History.

Description: 145 p., [1] overleaf : ill. ; pb 21.5 cm.

Contents: Historical background--1822: the formation of Davidson County--The first court house and Washington Square--A visit to the county seat in 1835--1821-1850: Asleep like Rip Van Winkle--1855: "Sir, 'tis the Railroad" --1858: "the sound of the hammer"--1865: a turn for the worse--1865: the fire--1873-1874: Court House square for sale--A visit to the county seat in 1875--1875-2008: The years pass--a time line : The second court house, The development of the Square. Appendices: The physical development of the court house--The Wilbank Bell's odyssey--Some history, some legend--Aftermath of the Court House fire --Famous visitors at the Court House--The Davidson County Historical Museum.

Books cost $15.00 each, with all proceeds going to upcoming restoration projects at the Old Courthouse, the Davidson County Historical Museum or visit your local Davidson County Public Library System library to purchase or view a copy of the book:

Witness for the prosecution

From This Fire Playbill

Be sure to visit the “Order in the Court” Exhibit, the Historical Museum's new courtroom exhibit that uses over 20 life-sized painted figures to show who did what during a criminal trial at the Old Court House on the Square in the 1920’s.

“From This Fire” tells the story of a sensational 1921 murder trial of Dr. Peacock.

November 7 & 8, 2008, the Museum is presenting an original courtroom drama written by Library staff member Jason Roland. “From This Fire” tells the story of a sensational 1921 murder trial of Dr. Peacock. Admission is being charged for the 7 PM performances, and all proceeds will be donated to the United Way Campaign!

Historical Museum10/05/08.wmv
Campaign Speech by future President Calvin Coolidge

"Law and Order" by Calvin Coolidge, then Governor of Massachusetts

It is preeminently the province of government to protect the weak. The average citizen does not lead the life of independence that was his in former days under a less complex order of society. When a family tilled the soil and produced its own support it was independent. It may be infinitely better off now, but it is evident it needs a protection which before was not required.

Let Massachusetts continue to regard with the greatest solicitude the well-being of her people. By prescribed law, by authorized publicity, by informed public opinion, let her continue to strive to provide that all conditions under which her citizens live are worthy of the highest faith of man. Healthful housing, wholesome food, sanitary working conditions, reasonable hours, a fair wage for a fair day's work, opportunity -- full and free, justice -- speedy and impartial, and at a cost within the reach of all, are among the objects not only to be sought, but made absolutely certain and secure.

Government is not, must not be, a cold, impersonal machine, but a human and more human agency: appealing to the reason, satisfying the heart, full of mercy, assisting the good, resisting the wrong, delivering the weak from any impositions of the powerful. This is not paternalism. It is not a servitude imposed from without, but the freedom of a right to self-direction from within.

Industry must be humanized, not destroyed. It must be the instrument not of selfishness, but of service. Change not the law, but the attitude of the mind. Let our citizens look not to the false prophet but to the pilgrims. Let them fix their eyes on Plymouth Rock as well as Beacon Hill. The supreme choice must be not to things that are seen, but to things that are unseen.

Our government belongs to the people. Our property belongs to the people. It is distributed. They own it. The taxes are paid by the people. They bear the burden. The benefits of government must accrue to the people. Not to one class, but to all classes, to all the people. The functions, the power, the sovereignty of the government, must be kept where they have been placed by the Constitution and laws of the people. Not private will, but that public will, which speaks with a divine sanction, must prevail.

There are strident voices, urging resistance to law in the name of freedom. They are not seeking freedom for themselves, they have it. They are seeking to enslave others. Their works are evil. They know it. They must be resisted. The evil they represent must be overcome by the good others represent. Their ideas, which are wrong, for the most part imported, must be supplanted by ideas which are right. This can be done. The meaning of America is a power which cannot be overcome. Massachusetts must lead in teaching it.

Prosecution of the criminal and education of the ignorant are the remedies. It is fundamental that freedom is not to be secured by disobedience to law. Even the freedom of the slave depended on the supremacy of the Constitution. There is no mystery about this. They who sin are the servants of sin. They who break the laws are the slaves of their own kind. It is not for the advantage of others that the citizen is abjured to obey the laws, but for his own advantage. That what he claims a right to do to others, that must he admit others have a right to do to him. His obedience is his own protection. He is not submitting himself to the dictates of others, but responding to the requirements of his own nature.

Laws are not manufactured. They are not imposed. They are rules of action existing from everlasting to everlasting. He who resists them, resists himself. He commits suicide. The nature of man requires sovereignty. Government must govern. To obey is life. To disobey is death. Organized government is the expression of the life of the commonwealth. Into your hands is entrusted the grave responsibility of its protection and perpetuation.

Coolidge was a reserved, uncommunicative New Englander; writer and wit Dorothy Parker once remarked he looked as though he had been "weaned on a pickle." Even so, his obvious integrity and the simple American values he espoused soon made "Silent Cal" a popular figure. He succeeded to the presidency upon Harding's death in 1923, and was elected to the White House in his own right in 1924.

Source: Library of Congress, American Leaders Speak, 1920 Presidential Campaign, Calvin Coolidge