Duval County Courthouse: The day before moving day
Fourth Judicial Circuit Court Administrator Joe Stelma is the custodian of the key to the Duval County Courthouse. Sometime next week, he’ll exchange the key to the courthouse that has been in service since 1958 at 330 E. Bay St. for the key to the new courthouse at 501 W. Adams St., which is scheduled to open for business May 29. Moving vans were arriving Thursday and Daily Record photographers were there to document the events.
With boxes and furniture rumbling by the arbor in the Clerk of Court office on the first floor of the Duval County Courthouse, Sebastian Lenares and Sandra Solomon were married in one of the last ceremonies at the old courthouse.
People have walked under this clock every day for more than 50 years. No one knows what date it stopped or why it stopped at 4 o’clock or if it was a.m. or p.m.
Circuit Judge Fred Tygart was moving some personal items from his office Thursday, including this trophy from 2001.
At 8:10 a.m. Thursday, inmates were led to court through the public halls at the old courthouse, a sight that will not be seen in the new building.
Courtroom contents are packed for the move.
Snack bar manager Darryl Brinton sold his last tuna sandwich at the old courthouse Wednesday afternoon. His freezers were the first equipment moved to the new building Thursday morning. “We’ll have better digs than this, I’m sure,” Brinton said.
Clerk of Courts Executive Assistant Sharen Stevens with the blueprint of records storage space at the new courthouse. All the records have to be moved and organized in order for the office to open May 29.
These telephone booths are original fixtures in the old courthouse, although the telephones were replaced with modern instruments. Plaques inside the booths are dated June 1957. The doors can be closed with one finger and the ventilation blowers still work.
This morning, the move officially begins from the 300,000-square-foot Duval County Courthouse on East Bay Street to the new 800,000-square-foot courthouse on West Adams Street. The new courthouse will open for business May 29.
All day Thursday, the sound of packing tape stretching across boxes was heard throughout the building.
In the Clerk of Court office, the staff was preparing to move Duval County’s legal documents to their new facility. Some of the records are brand new, since people were filing documents all day Thursday, while some of the documents are more than 100 years old.
“It’s like moving your home, times 1,000,” said Sharen Stevens, executive assistant to Clerk of Court Jim Fuller.
The old courthouse closes for good at 5 p.m. today.