Courthouse centennial celebration to be held

Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Barry County Courthouse to be celebrated On Friday, the Barry County Commission at the Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce will hold a special celebration in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Barry County Courthouse. The photo above, which was an image of the building of the courthouse sometime around the year 1913, was provided by the Barry County Museum, located on Highway 112 south of Cassville. The photo was donated by a museum patron for historical purposes. In honor of the 100th anniversary, the museum is planning a large display that will include numerous photos and information about the building project.

Area community members are invited to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Barry County Courthouse during Friday Squared, which will be held on the square in Cassville from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on May 10. Thanks to several generous sponsors, the Barry County Commission will offer free pulled pork sandwiches and hot dogs during the event.

"I love this courthouse so much," said Cherry Warren, Barry County presiding commissioner. "It has character to it. I hope local residents share the pride in the courthouse and the county. A good crowd would honor the building.

"It's good for us to look back in time to see how it used to be in order to understand how we got from where we were to where we are today," added Warren.

The Barry County Commission will offer a special program during the Friday Squared block party. After Cassville Mayor Bill Shiveley gives a welcome address, Warren will recognize the sponsors for the event and then talk about the improvements that have been completed at the courthouse over the last two decades.

"The one-half cent sales tax was passed in 1993," said Warren. "With that money we were able to put a new roof on the courthouse."

The county commission later approved a project that replaced all of the windows in the courthouse. Work was completed by EFCO in Monett.

"We put in new thermal pane windows," said Warren. "That project cost around $80,000."

Next, the commission installed a new ground source heating and cooling system for the building.

"We did that because we didn't have to tear off the aesthetics of the building," said Warren.

Other projects have included rewiring the building in order to meet requirements for computer systems and Internet access and re-gluing the courthouse roof.

"The warranty for that roof will be good for another 15 years," said Warren. "There are additional things we would like to do inside the courthouse, but we haven't had the money to do those things in the last few years."

One idea that has been placed on the back burner due to funding would be to restore the original ceiling in the circuit courtroom. Warren said the heating and cooling system installed at the courthouse several years ago was designed to serve the building efficiently after the original ceiling was restored.

"I think it is a sound building," said Warren. "It has new windows, a good heating and air conditioning system and a good roof on it. It should be here for another 100 years."

The anniversary celebration will also feature an address by former Sen. Emory Melton, who will speak about events related to the design and construction of the courthouse in 1912 and 1913.

"Our courthouse has a lot of stories to tell, and we felt there was no one more capable of reliving those stories than Sen. Melton," said Warren.

The Barry County Commission is preparing to serve free meals to between 600 and 800 people. A decorating committee has been established to provide special decorations for the anniversary celebration, and Warren said several county officials and officeholders will take part in the celebration.

Local bluegrass band Spur of the Moment, which includes band members Cody Cantwell, Wyatt Clevenger, Gary Cook, Ronnie Hedrick and Steve Jordan, will provide musical entertainment from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and 7:15 to 8 p.m.

Community members are encouraged to bring lawn chairs to the event. In the event of inclement weather, music and program will be held in the First Baptist Church Family Life Center.

In addition to free food and entertainment, Friday Squared, which is sponsored by the Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce, will offer a pie contest, shopping and an assortment of booths on the downtown square. The Barry County Historical Society will also offer tours of the Bayless House during the event.

Businesses offering special promotions and activities during Friday Squared are listed below:

* Around the World Cafe: buy one ice cream cone and get the second cone at half price.

* Forever Yours Embroidery: register for a door prize with a purchase.

* Kowboy Kettle Korn: food concessions.

* Smith's Clothing: extended shopping hours with in-store specials.

* Tropical Sno: snow cones.

* Tomblin's: extended shopping hours.

* Whitley Pharmacy: mini soft pretzels with cheese, 100 grand milkshakes and fountain giveaways.

* Westco: extended shopping hours.

The Cassville Branch Library and the Cassville Main Street Association (CMSA) will offer information boothes during the event. CMSA will also offer complimentary desserts. The Cassville YMCA will provide an inflatable bounce house and information.

"My goal for the May event is for everyone to come around the square and enjoy the music and complimentary dinner and join in celebrating our history," said Mindi Artherton, chamber executive director. "It is going to be a fun evening celebrating our heritage. I also would really encourage everyone to take advantage of extended shopping hours."

The chamber will award three door prizes at the conclusion of Friday Squared. Shoppers who make a purchase at a chamber member business during the event are eligible for the drawing.

Financial assistance for Friday Squared is provided by the Missouri Association of Community Arts Agencies and the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency that uses Challenge America funds from the National Endowment for the Arts.

For more information on Friday Squared or to reserve booth space for the event, call Artherton at 847-2814 or email her at

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