EFFINGHAM, Ill. (WTHI) - It's a rainy Monday afternoon, and the doors of the old Effingham County Courthouse stand open, revealing a small team of volunteers painting the walls light beige.
The building dates back 140 years and was used until the early 2000s, when the county replaced it with a new courthouse and government center. After the courts moved out, community members discussed whether to keep the building or tear it down.
"There were those who wanted to destroy the building and turn it into a parking lot," said Delaine Donaldson, president of the group working to restore the courthouse. "There were others of us who said ‘No, this is an historic building. We need to preserve it.'"
Over the past three years, the group Effingham County Courthouse Cultural Center and Museum Association say they have been raising funds to restore the building and turn it into a museum. The group plans to include exhibits about transportation, area veterans, photography and other parts of Effingham County history.
Planners say they hope to open part of the museum on November 11.
If you'd like to learn more about the project or help out, you can contact the Effingham County Courthouse Cultural Center and Museum Association by mail at P.O. Box 324, Effingham, Ill.
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