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Jackson County's most photographed building - it's historic Courthouse - was built on a hill overlooking Sylva's Main Street. Constructed in 1914 by early industrialist C.J. Harris, the Courthouse is now part of the Jackson County Public Library Complex, which opened in June 2011.
Harris, Sylva's wealthiest businessman at the turn of the 20th century, was the man most responsible for making Sylva the county seat. Until a 1913 referendum, Webster, a town on the Tuckaseigee River that was bypassed by the railroad, was the seat of government; Harris and others argued that Sylva's booming train-based economy made it more suitable, and voters agreed. Courthouse construction was under way by August 1913, and county offices moved into their new quarters in March 1914.
The Courthouse was used until the 1994 completion of the Justice Center. The historic structure was extensively remodeled during 2009-2011 during construction of the new library and now houses the offices of the Jackson County Genealogical Society, the Jackson County Historical Association and the Jackson County Arts Council.
Though the Courthouse has undergone several appearance shifts since Harris built it, it continues to supply a perfect backdrop for Sylva's vibrant downtown. And, now that it's part of the public library, Jackson County's signature building is once again a hub for community activity.