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Courthouse windows hit auction block

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Submitted Photo
A county employee can be seen taking a photo of one of the Chaves County Courthouse windows being sold by the county on an online auction site.

History buffs, architectural aficionados and local residents who have a fondness for the Chaves County Courthouse in downtown Roswell have a chance to purchase a piece of its history.

Chaves County is auctioning off 17 former courthouse windows inside their antique frames. The fixtures were removed this summer from the courthouse dome and the third floor as part of the county’s effort to replace all the windows over several years, with most of the windows being about 110 years old.

The basement windows were replaced before this summer, and the first and second floor windows are scheduled for replacement in 2022. That phase of the replacement project is estimated at about $1 million.

The current group of windows and frames being sold online at govdeals.com come with a certificate of authenticity from the county.

“Many of these iconic windows can be seen in hundreds of photographs, postcards, brochures and other images taken of the courthouse since its completion in 1911,” the certificate reads in part. “I hope the historic windows you purchased from Chaves County bring you many hours of joy and the ability to reflect on this great county and its residents. Thank you for keeping these remnants of our historic past available for other generations to enjoy.”

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The windows now on sale aren’t in the best of shape, acknowledged County Manager Bill Williams, but he said someone might appreciate owning one or more for a craft project, for an exhibit or display item, or just to say that they possess a part of the iconic building. The courthouse and the original jail were designated a state historic site in 1984 and a national historic site in 1989.

“We had several people asking us for the windows, and I know personally that I would happily pay to have one of those windows,” Williams said.

He said the county decided that a public auction was the appropriate route rather than disposing of them or providing them to people who knew who to ask. He added that proceeds from the window sales will go to the county general fund.

The county also plans to auction the arched and larger windows from the first and second floors after they have been removed. Williams said they are in better condition and are recognizable to many people.

He added that the county is considering donating one of the arched windows to a local historical group, but that discussions are only in the initial stages.

Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.