This old ‘court’house

18-month interior renovation nearly complete

The 1894 Jasper County Courthouse in Carthage – good as new on the outside – is now closer to its original design on the inside.

Completion of the 18-month, approximate $4.5 million interior reconstruction was marked Monday with speeches and ribbon cuttings.

Jasper County Presiding Judge Gayle Crane thanked the public for recognizing the building’s value and “making the inside match the outside.”

The renovation is one of several projects financed by a 1/4-cent sales tax initially passed in 2016 and extended in 2019. After initial passage of the tax, there were improvements to the courthouse’s exterior, and a geothermal heating and air conditioning system was installed.

Over the years, ceilings had been lowered and halls were blocked by partitions. Now the arched halls are open again, and the ceilings are high again – not blocking the peaks of windows. Electrical service was updated, and internet is available throughout. The plaster walls have been refreshed. And the floors have been recovered, especially on the first floor, which is now done in tile, with the county seal in the center of the four hallways.

Crane noted that most courts in the state are leaving courthouses for new structures. She thanked the Jasper County Commission for allowing the historic building to continue being used as an active court. “Judges across the state talk about our courthouse,” she said.

“I’m estatic about our judges operating here again,” she added. During the renovation, the courts have been operating at the Joplin courthouse, which is being replaced with a new building currently under construction.

In addition to the three courtrooms on the third floor, a fourth courtroom has been added on the second floor.

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