Gainesville Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse named for Sidney O. Smith Jr.
November 28, 2017
ATLANTA, GA – Today U.S. Representative Doug Collins joined the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and U.S. District Court at a ceremony to name the Gainesville Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse for former District Judge Sidney O. Smith, Jr.
The ceremony, held at the courthouse in Judge Smith’s former courtroom, marked the official naming of the Sidney O. Smith, Jr. Federal Building and United States Courthouse. Rep. Collins, who sponsored the legislation naming the building (H.R.4618), offered remarks, as did GSA Acting Regional Administrator, Liana Henry, U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson and David Perdue, along with former colleagues of Judge Smith. The program concluded with an unveiling of the signage bearing the new name and comments by Judge Smith’s son Sidney Oslin Smith III.
Judge Smith served as a district judge for the Northern District of Georgia for nine years before retiring in 1974 and accepting a senior position with an Atlanta law firm. A proponent of education, Judge Smith served as chairman of the Gainesville Board of Education, as a member and chairman of the State Board of Regents, and as a trustee of Brenau University for more than 35 years.
“Naming the federal courthouse for Judge Smith, a native of Gainesville who was deeply rooted in the community, serves as a testament to his contributions at the federal and local levels,” said GSA’s Acting Southeast Regional Administrator Liana Henry. “The courthouse is an important part of this community and our action today strengthens that connection.”
“Judge Smith's influence extended beyond the walls of the courthouse. He made significant contributions to our community and state and should be recognized as an outstanding public servant,” said United States District Judge, Richard W. Story, Gainesville Division.
“Judge Smith dedicated his life to putting service above self, and his influence is still felt in my hometown of Gainesville. It’s a privilege to highlight his legacy and our northeast Georgia community by helping to rename this federal courthouse in honor of Judge Sidney O. Smith, Jr,” commented U.S. Representative Doug Collins.
Originally constructed as a post office in 1910, the courthouse was designed by James Knox Taylor in the Greek Revival style, featuring granite and marble. It was later purchased by GSA and now serves as a Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse. The building contains five floors above ground. A 1936 addition facing Spring Street repeats the style of the earlier building with white marble cladding but unique detailing. The courthouse has the distinction of being one of Gainesville’s oldest buildings, having survived a tornado which nearly destroyed the entire downtown on April 6, 1936. In 1974, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The 55,756 square foot facility houses the U.S. Courts, Marshals Service, Social Security Administration, and Department of Labor.
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