The Sun News

“Courthouses of Georgia” book tour launches in Perry

Six years ago, Ross King had a vision of creating a photographic book of state courthouses to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the Association County Commissioners of Georgia.

Thursday morning, at the Houston County Courthouse in Perry, that dream was celebrated.

“What a tremendous day,” said King, executive director for the association.

The first stop on the “Courthouses of Georgia” book release and signing tour included a who’s who of senators, legislators, judges, lawyers, military members and other guests who had played a part in the book.

Former state representative Larry Walker was asked to write the introduction to the book. He asked nine other people to help him, including former governor Roy Barnes, who attended Thursday’s event.

Walker wanted people who were storytellers to have a hand in writing about the significance of courthouses in Georgia.

He wanted a more personal viewpoint, not something about the architecture.

Walker suggested to those at the book signing that they buy the book for everyone on their Christmas lists.

Courthouses from all 159 counties are included in the book,

Photographer Greg Newington, of Newington Photography, made a 22,000 mile trip from Australia to photograph each courthouse.

King spoke of the Hancock County Courthouse and how the photographs Newington took were going to help architects rebuild the structure to its former glory.

“It burned three weeks after I shot it,” Newington said.

Patrick Allen, acquisitions editor at University of Georgia Press, said Newington’s pictures were probably the last professional photos taken of the site.

Each courthouse photo shoot took several weeks of planning. Newington wanted to showcase each courthouse in the best possible light and at the best time of year. He praised city officials at each site for being gracious enough to provide him histories of the buildings and, in some cases, guided tours.

“I wanted to capture the character of the building. This is the center of the community and a driving force behind community involvement,” Newington said.

King echoed Newington’s sentiments. The buildings, King said, are not just to hold court.

“They are the people’s building.” he said.

“I am very happy with the finished product.”