History lovers, rejoice! Last week, we promised you an inside-look into a restoration that’s currently underway in Covington, Georgia. The Newton County History Center is a county project that has been in the works since 2005. According to the Newton County Special Projects Coordinator, Cheryl Delk, “The history center will serve as a hub for information concerning other historic sites in the county, a meeting place for related programs and events, field trip destination for schools and a space for temporary and permanent exhibits relative to the county and its history.” And, the building they’ve chosen to house this wonderful addition to our community? The Newton County Jail. The jail is located just around the corner from our famous Courthouse, on Stallings Street. It’s a gorgeous building that’s been a Covington landmark since its inception in 1901.
When the building was being constructed, it was considered “state-of-the-art” and cost $10,000 to complete. Once it was completed, the jail had the capacity to house 40 inmates comfortably. The first sheriff to oversee the day-to-day running of the jail was Samuel Hay, who lived on the property and was famous for his gardening skills. In fact, in the summer, Hay would use his skills to provide inmates with fresh vegetables. With its high, green roofs and crimson brick exterior, it’s no wonder that the people of Covington wish to see the Jail remain.
So far, restoration workers have completed the external restoration of the structure. They have revitalized the historically accurate green slate roof and made sure that the building is up to present day building codes. The internal restoration as well as the construction of the historic exhibits should be underway in the fall of 2016.
The entire project is being funded by SPLOST funds approved by Covington voters. For those not “in-the-know”, SPLOST refers to a special-purpose, local-option sales tax. The sales tax must be approved through a vote and includes a 1% tax levied to raise the necessary funds.
We cannot WAIT to browse the incredible artifacts and learn even more about the history of our fair Covington. And, we’re pretty excited to see inside the incredible Newton County Jail. Remember, the site will be under construction for some time yet. Keep tuning in to our website, as we bring you more information.