Ballard displays historic artifacts in courtroom

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 29, 2022

Judge Andrew Ballard’s courtroom looks newer by displaying things older.

The Lawrence County Court of Common Pleas room has a new array of historical photos commemorating some of Lawrence County’s most fascinating people, places and events.

Board members from the Lawrence County Museum and Historical Society have spent the past few weeks choosing original photos and some reprints that give courtroom visitors a splendid view and a history lesson.

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On display is an original painting done by Steve Early, of Olive Furnace. There are also depictions of John Campbell and his home on North Fifth Street, a map of Underground Railroad routes, iron furnaces, the Kelly family, the Waterloo Wonders, Lawrence County’s only remaining covered bridge and a sketch of the Rome Beauty Apple, drawn by one of the Society’s youngest members, Emma Ratliff.

Ballard says he wants the people who enter his courtroom to have an appreciation for the community they live in and to encourage people to visit the Museum.

“You all did an amazing job. This was a fantastic project, and we can’t thank you enough!” he said.

Each picture is accompanied by a description of the photo.

“We had so much fun looking through boxes of photos deciding what we should display,” Nicole Cox said of the project. “We also stumbled upon some interesting items that were taken out of storage to the Museum, like Capt. Dean Gilfillan’s medal and the original Articles of Incorporation of the Historical Society from 1925.”

Contributor and Society Secretary Alicia Fraley said she enjoys sharing the history of our community with people.

“There’s so much about Lawrence County that people should know about, and we’re excited to put some of it on display,” she said.

Museum trustee Sue Lunsford stated she is always looking for ways to promote the Museum and encourage new people to join.

“This was a great opportunity to show people some of what the Museum has to offer,” Lunsford said.

They are also collaborating on a weekly series on the Society’s Facebook page titled “Freaky Fridays” that highlights some interesting and sometimes dark stories from the past. The first post was about a skeleton unearthed — and reburied — in the area around the Third and Center fountain.

“We have posts scheduled about murders, some of the tales from the Cemetery Walk, and some stories that end up being funny,” Cox said.

Ballard has invited the public to see the display and to visit the museum. The Society’s 1840 Conestoga Wagon will be part of the Memorial Day Parade and a pie social is on the schedule for July. The Museum is open Saturday and Sunday 1-4 p.m.