The Hatchet is Buried
New Courthouse Groundbreaking
Officials gathered on the site of the new Toombs County Courthouse in Lyons on Tuesday, April 21, to make history. Although work has already begun as the ground has been cleared and made ready for construction of a new judicial complex, a ceremonial turning of the dirt brought together county officials to symbolically mark the beginning of a new courthouse era.
Chairman David Sikes told those present that this is the fourth courthouse to be built in Toombs County. The current courthouse was built in 1964, but the first courthouse, built in 1906, was destroyed by fire. A time capsule from this structure still exists, and when Sikes opened it recently, he was inspired by its contents.
Among the items inside a box that continued from page
has been kept in the current courthouse for many years were a Bible, a copy of the act creating the county, an original land deed from 1837, an article from The Lyons Progress published on the day the Legislature created Toombs County in 1905, and several other artifacts.
Referring to the newspaper article written when the county was formed, Sikes noted that citizens were arguing about whether Lyons or Vidalia would be the county seat. Reading from the newspaper, Sikes said, “The writer goes on and says, ‘There are good people in Lyons AND Vidalia.’ He then asks if the hatchet could be buried.” Sikes said he was inspired by those words and thought the building of the new courthouse provided an opportunity to symbolically bury the hatchet. “I feel like we all get along and work together well in 2021, and the new courthouse is proof of that.” He explained that all of the county’s municipalities have joined the county government in paying for the structure. “I called the Mayors of Lyons and Vidalia and asked if 116 years later we could bury the proverbial hatchet.” Sikes said the mayors responded with an enthusiastic, “Yes!”
Sikes actually brought along an antique hatchet to symbolize the parity between the cities and county. The hatchet, which dates from the 1900s and belongs to his wife’s family, was buried in the sand Tuesday afternoon on the site where the foundation of the new courthouse will be soon be poured. He said he would like for the hatchet to be added to the collection of artifacts from the time capsule and displayed at the new Courthouse complex.
Encircled by local dignitaries who had gathered for the ceremony, Sandy Dixon, the wife of the late Ronnie Dixon, former Mayor of Vidalia, was the first to throw a shovel of dirt. Chairman Sikes said Mayor Dixon had been instrumental in moving the county courthouse project forward.
Immediately following the ceremony on the site of the new courthouse, officials walked next door to break ground for the expansion of the Toombs County Detention Center. This project is included in the $34 million judicial complex construction. TQ Constructors of Metter is the General Contractor for the project that is projected to be completed by December 2022.