Hoping to keep a part of Harlan County history alive, members of the Harlan Fiscal Court asked that some of the benches in the old circuit courtroom in the Harlan County Courthouse be restored and used in the county in some capacity.
Harlan County Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop said the benches were “probably 95 years old.”
“These benches are now in the way, because we’re having to build and change the setting in the courtroom,” said Grieshop. “I’m asking that the fiscal court declare all the benches surplus except for three of them to get the courtroom the way it should be with chairs.”
Grieshop then suggested bids be taken after the benches are declared surplus to “make it fair.” He added if the benches could speak they could tell a lot of Harlan County’s history because of the many citizens and past circuit court judges who have sat upon them.”
Magistrate David Kennedy said he didn’t understand why the benches should be declared surplus and sold. He said he would rather see them stay in the courtroom and be used instead of chairs.
“These benches could be refurbished and be beautiful,” said Kennedy. “You’re not going to get any chairs to last a 100 years like these benches have.”
Magistrate Jonathan Pope agreed with Kennedy, saying “he’d hate to see the benches go.”
When asked for his opinion on the matter, Harlan County Attorney Fred Busroe said the benches “have a high historical significance” and suggested possibly offering them to city halls across the county.
“Even if we use them we can only use half of them, because we have to downsize,” said Grieshop.
Kennedy made a motion to declare half of the benches surplus and retain the other half and have them restored. The motion also contained a recommendation that city mayors be called and ask if they would like to have a bench donated to their city halls. That motion was approved.
Nola Sizemore may be reached at 606-573-4510 or on Twitter @Nola_hde