Historic Clay County Courthouse: Beal Center
Preservation and restoration of the iconic Historic Courthouse is one of the projects of which CCCRA is most proud. The Historic Clay County Courthouse, located on the Square in downtown Hayesville, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975, and rejuvenated in 2018 to the simplicity and beauty of its early roots, the Historic Clay County Courthouse/Beal Center is now a unique event venue, once again the center of the charming, revitalized downtown Hayesville, North Carolina.
The perfect venue for weddings, family gatherings or celebrations of life. A memorable location for meetings, classes, gala dinners, trade expos and cultural events, as well as concerts, dances, community events and children's programs. The restored former courtroom upstairs provides great flexibility in your planning. A ground floor meeting room allows for smaller gatherings or an extension of your main event. A full catering kitchen enhances your occasion. Come experience the quaint serenity of a bygone era at the Beal Center.
The Historic Clay County Courthouse, located on the Square in downtown Hayesville, was completed in 1888.
Constructed by local craftsman Captain J. S. Anderson in the Italianate Vernacular style from 1887-1888, at a cost of $7800, and dedicated in early 1889, the Historic Courthouse is the second courthouse for the County, having replaced the original wooden stucture. That building, which stood on the south side of the Square, near the present location of Tiger's Clothing Store, burned to the ground the night of May 20, 1870, destroying all early county records.
While still operating as the County's courthouse into the early 21st century, the Historic Clay County Courthouse fell into disrepair. Starting in 1998, CCCRA obtained funds to garner improvements including renovating the exterior of the building, replacing lights on the Square grounds, installing commemorative brick walks, planting trees and repainting the gazebo/bandstand. In 2000, CCCRA launched a project to stabilize the courthouse exterior and replace the dilapidated windows. County business continued at the site until 2007, when the present-day courthouse was constructed outside of downtown Hayesville. In May 2010, CCCRA, began to fashion and fund a plan to rehabilitate the courthouse and to restore it to its rightful place as the heart of Clay County. In 2017, exterior repairs to the roof system, the steeple and brickwork was undertaken. Following a generous contribution by a locally-born benefactor, CCCRA had sufficient funds to undertake restoration of the interior in 2017-2018. Local contractor Penland Builders worked closely with CCCRA's courthouse committee to painstakingly renovate the building in a style consistent with her roots. Repurposed as a community and event center, the Beal Center was rededicated on July 21, 2018, 130 years after the original construction.
The Historic Courthouse and Square is the heart of the community. In days not too distant past, the grounds served as a playground for the town children. Farm families came to town on Saturday doing their marketing and stayed to visit with their extended family and friends. Continuing that tradition, the Historic Courthouse grounds and Square houses community events such as: CCCRA Summer Concert Series, Hayesville Farmer's Market, the Clay County Rotary Club Car-B-Que, Clay County Historical & Arts Festival, HHI's Steins & Wines, the Pet Fair, the Tractor Parade and Agricultural Day, and the Lighting of the Square and Christmas Parade. Already, the Beal Center has hosted family reunions, birthday parties, a vow-renewal, a gala fund-raiser, meetings and concerts.
Countless newcomers to the area, upon seeing the Historic Courthouse, have said “I knew I’d come home.” Preserving the heritage of the Historic Courthouse for the residents and descendants of Clay County, both life-long and new, is at the heart of the mission of Clay County Communities Revitalization Association. While the restoration is complete, CCCRA continues to seek funding for ensuring this treasured place is cared for and welcomes visitors and residents to the downtown area for the next 130 years.