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Historic courthouse opens to the public

Visitors to Woodstock's historic courthouse ribbon cutting listen to Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors Chairman David Ferguson speak. The building was officially reopened at the ceremony Friday. Katie Demeria/Daily (Buy photo)

By Katie Demeria

WOODSTOCK -- A historical town structure has officially been returned to Woodstock residents.

Shenandoah County held a ribbon cutting ceremony Friday afternoon celebrating the opening of the county's Historic Courthouse, which was originally built in 1795.

The rehabilitation of the 103 North Main St. structure began in 2013, according to Barbara Adamson, president of the board of the Shenandoah County Historical Society.

Meg Trott, a member of the historical society's board, called it "a very loving restoration."

The building will continue to operate as a courthouse periodically, and will also sport a visitor information center and museum, allowing visitors to enter and admire the history inside.

County Administrator Mary Beth Price started the ceremony. She said, though the exterior of the building appears the same, several changes took place within, including a stabilized foundation and new roof.

"You have to tear up to fix up, and I believe behind me is a historic structure that the citizens of Shenandoah County can be proud of," she told the crowd.

Adamson, Board of Supervisors Chairman David Ferguson and former county supervisor Sharon Baroncelli also spoke of the building adding integrity to the town.

"It wasn't going to close, we weren't going to let it ruin into shambles, we were going to keep it open -- get it open and keep it open daily so visitors and travelers can visit, go inside, and see what a great asset we have in Shenandoah County," Baroncelli said.

Shenandoah County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Judge William H. Logan touched on the historical significance, remarking that his service in the courthouse began in 1973. Woodstock attorney William Allen echoed Logan's remarks, and spoke for Circuit Judge Dennis L. Hupp, who was not able to attend the event.

Onlookers after the event were given the opportunity to go inside through the large double doors facing Main Street -- which few will be able to do in the future, Adamson said, as the new main entrance is now on Court Street.

Several local residents were there to celebrate the opening, including Jane Hockman of Maurertown, who said she was "delighted that it's happening."

Marian French has lived in Shenandoah County all her life, she said, and is originally from Maurertown.

"There was a group of us that worked very hard to keep the court downtown. We thought if we didn't get that done, this would never happen," French said, referring to the courthouse being open to the public.

Looking back, she continued, she is glad everything worked out the way it did.

"The world will be able to see this wonderful building," she said. "The board said they wanted to do it, and they did it -- and I'm proud of them."

Contact staff writer Katie Demeria at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kdemeria@nvdaily.com

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