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By Benjamin A. Roberts

2010 Masters Thesis, University of Georgia

This thesis explores the reasons that some counties in Georgia choose to preserve their courthouses and some do not. Of the 159 counties in Georgia, 102 counties still have their historic courthouses in use as a courthouse, 37 counties have built a new courthouse/government center, but retain their courthouse for non-judicial activities, and 20 counties lost their courthouses to fire or demolished them. The status of all 159 courthouses is reviewed, and an overview of their current state is provided. Review of preservation efforts provides an understanding of the challenges facing these buildings. Lessons learned from both Georgia and the national experience regarding preservation efforts and historic county courthouses are developed. The thesis provides a basis for current and future efforts for courthouse preservation in Georgia by summarizing the best practices learned from multiple examples of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

By Patricia Stallings

2002 Masters Thesis, University of Georgia

For two centuries, owners of the Shields-Ethridge Farm in Jackson County, Georgia adapted to changes in the larger agricultural scene. Following the pattern of other upcountry settlers, they first cultivated tobacco, then switched primarily to cotton when the region became immersed in the growing market. By 1900, the glutted economy began to show signs of recovery, enticing the farm's new owner, Ira Washington Ethridge, to fully participate in its growth. Transforming the farm into a complex of cultivation and ancillary businesses, Ethridge left a decided mark on the operation. With mechanization, though, the region's cotton production waned, leaving cotton-dependant farms like the Ethridge's to face crucial decisions. Today, the farm serves as a growing museum, one that can fill a void left by other living history farms that focus primarily on historic agriculture and not the social and cultural changes brought by mechanization.