The first courthouse in Baker County was built circa 1831 of wood and destroyed by a fire in 1873, thus resulting in the construction of the new brick courthouse in 1906. The new courthouse was designed by James Wingfield Golucke and built by the Atlanta Fireproofing Company. Obviously the county commissioners didn’t want history to repeat it’s self! In an unusual twist Golucke was arrested and held prisoner in the courthouse in 1907 for misappropriation of funds. He proclaimed his innocence and attempted suicide on October 7, 1907. He eventually died in Baker County of a fever. Some say that the ghost of Golucke still roams the court house at night. At some point in the early 20th century the steeple and clock were added ‘to add attractiveness’. The building was threatened in 1925 in the 100 year flood by six foot waters which undermined the foundation. Court officials hurried to save county records and it took years before the building was again safe. The building was largely abandoned during the latter half of the 20th century and again threatened by the 100 year flood in 1994. This time the court house weathered the flood waters much easier and clean up was fast. In recent years the court house has been home to the Baker County Library and Computer Lab, as well as the site of the annual Quail Covey Festival. It was used in the film ‘The Lena Baker Story’ in 2008. Though no trials have taken place in decades the courthouse is still open for voters every November.
The Baker County Court House is on the National Register of Historic Places, listed on September 18, 1980.
Historical Marker, text is as follows:
This county, created by Acts of the Legislature December 12 and 24, 1825, is named for Col. John Baker of Revolutionary fame. The original county seat was at Byron [, Dougherty County] but an act of December 26, 1831, established a new seat which was named Newton for Sgt. John Newton, a Revolutionary soldier one of the hardest battles of the Creek Indian War was fought in Baker County at Chickasawhachee Creek in 1836. Among the first county officers were: Sheriff Stafford Long, Clerk of Superior & Inferior Courts Thomas E. Whittingon, Coroner John Gillion, and Surveyor Jno. C. Neil.
004-1 GEORGIA HISTORICAL COMMISSION 1954
Library with our resident librarian, Mrs. Tammy.
A flower growing from a bulb planted by the Newton Gardens Club in the early 20th century.
The old balcony has now been enclosed for air conditioning units.
Lobby, notice the marker to the upper right of the center archway, it’s the high water mark from the ’94 flood.
Court Official’s Room