Historical Franklin Co. Courthouse demolished after 145 years of service

Courthouse demolition

BENTON, Ill. (KFVS) - Things around Benton Square were looking a lot different on Monday morning.

The 145-year-old Franklin County Courthouse was torn down. A St. Louis demolition group started tearing the courthouse down around 8 a.m.

David Tate, a Benton resident, said it is going to be odd not seeing the courthouse in the middle of town.

“It’s weird not seeing it there anymore,” said Tate.

However, he said he is ready to see what the new courthouse will bring to the city itself.

“I think when it gets going and gets up and running, I think a lot of people will be proud of it,” said Tate.

Not everyone is feeling the same about the demolition of the old courthouse. Resident Jodi Greenawald said they should have put the new courthouse elsewhere.

“This shouldn’t be built here,” Greenawald said. “It should be built somewhere else and they got plenty of land to do it with.”

Greenawald said he believes this historic site should have stayed where it was with all of its history.

“All I’m asking is why they are spending the money on, on, on tearing this down,” said Greenawald.

One Benton city employee, Lee Messersmith, is on the commission for the city as well. He believed the new courthouse can do a lot for the city and county.

“I think there’s a lot of possible positives to it,” he said. “You know anytime you build something new it tends to attract or draw attention.”

Messersmith believes this was a historical day for the start of the new courthouse.

“It’s historic whether you are looking forward to it as progress or you look back, kind of look back at the history and get some sadness to it,” he said. “It’s a historical day.”

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