From left: Volunteers Rose Kelley, Rannye Robertson and Kassie Hassler work to sort items at the new County Archives building.

Recently a milestone was reached in efforts to consolidate and organize all of Trousdale County’s records!

That happened when a work crew from the Sheriff’s Office delivered the last load of boxes and files from the attic of our century-old courthouse to the new County Archives facility at 328 Broadway.

This has been a six-year long process that has been a joint effort by the county and the Historical Society. Efforts to organize and preserve our old documents date back even further.

Six years ago after the county purchased the old Co-op building, the Historical Society urged the county government to find a better location for our old documents than the attic of the courthouse. So for several years, the Co-op building was used to store more recent records, but the pile of boxes in the attic remained untouched.

When the county purchased the former Bank of Hartsville property on Broadway, a large metal building behind the main office building was designated as the County Archives site.

This was the first time our county had an official location for old records and papers.

Since then, an Archives Commission has been organized and it supervises the acquisition and preservation of county records. It has been a big job!

Several hundred boxes of papers, dating back to 1904, were stuck in the attic. A fire in 1904 destroyed our old courthouse and all of our records dating from 1870 to that date. The boxes had to be removed and delivered to the new archives.

Metal shelving had to be purchased, assembled and set up. Archival-quality storage boxes were obtained through a state grant and the work began.

Every Wednesday for the last three years, a volunteer crew has arrived at the archives to go through each and every box. The contents are read, organized and re-boxed and set on the new shelving. Following state guidelines, some papers are sent to be shredded or destroyed.

Volunteers are supervised by our archivist, Kassie Hassler, who digs into the boxes along with her crew. Helping over the last three years have been County Historian John Oliver, Rose Kelley, Rannye Robertson, Tommy Franklin, Dana Hassler, Pat Langford and Karen Luhrs, as well as the late Linda Case and Sharon Yon.

In addition to the records from the various county offices, the new archives building houses the large collection of old papers, photos, newspapers, and genealogy books that belong to the Trousdale County Historical Society. The Society also uses the building for its monthly meetings.

Because all of this labor on a volunteer basis, the facility is not open on a daily basis. But the volunteers try to be there every Wednesday from 9 a.m. to noon for research and from 1-3 p.m. for working and organizing.

Although the last of the papers from the attic have been delivered, work is far from done. Re-boxing the old documents is only half of the job. Once all the files have been placed on shelves, the long process of listing the documents and putting them on a master computer file begins. That may take several more years of work!

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