The 1,000th visitor for 2013 walked into Georgetown’s Old Courthouse Nov. 30. Pat Miller of Somerset, Pa., was visiting Georgetown with her family to see the Georgetown Public Library’s model train exhibit and to have lunch at The Brick Hotel, after which they visited the Old Courthouse.
After enjoying a tour of the old building and learning about America’s last whipping post, rare tipstaff use, and the infamous Patty Cannon’s court appearance, Miller was surprised when she was told she was the 1,000th visitor.
She was more surprised when docent Pat Dolecek presented her with a gift basket of items related to the historic structure: a16 Mile Brewery growler - in 1791, Delaware passed a law establishing the Old Courthouse and the Town of Georgetown in the middle of Sussex County. This location was approximately 16 miles from any sizable town (Laurel, Seaford, Lewes), hence the community was given the nickname “16 miles from anywhere.” Miller also received a 16 Mile Brewery gift certificate for Old Court Ale, a Brick Hotel paperweight to signify the hotel's use as a temporary courthouse in 1837 while the new Sussex County Courthouse was being built, a Brick Hotel gift certificate, a commemorative plate of the new Sussex County Courthouse and a gift certificate to the Upper Crust coffee shop and art gallery now featuring Georgetown's courthouses.
Chardon Jewelers, The Brick Hotel, 16 Mile Brewery, and the Upper Crust all contributed to the gift basket.
Renovated by the State of Delaware for the nation’s bicentennial in 1976, the structure was largely unused until three years ago, when the Georgetown Historical Society began opening the building to visitors during the warmer months. 2013 was the first year that the visitor count exceeded the 1,000-person level.
The Old Courthouse will remain closed until spring 2014, when the Georgetown Historical Society members will once again open the structure for tours and viewing. It is 150 feet from the Georgetown Circle on South Bedford Street. The anticipated opening date is Saturday April 5, 2014, with the building being open every Saturday thereafter from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. until fall. There is no charge for admission, and parking is abundant. For details on the historic structure search Facebook: Old Courthouse, Georgetown, Delaware.