About The Historic Courthouse Preservation Project
In 2001 Washington County was going to vacate the Old Washington County Courthouse in Salem. William Eberle, a retired attorney, spearheaded a group of citizens to take action and make the courthouse a community center. Concerned citizens met with John G. Waite, a renowned preservation architect, who made a presentation about other restoration projects and arranged for the group to visit recently restored buildings. Meetings were then held on a regular basis and Bill put in motion the chartering of a not-for-profit with the Education Department of New York State.
In January 2002 the Historic Salem Courthouse Preservation Association, Inc. (HSCPA) officially became a corporation and the first Board of Directors was elected. They selected Bill to be the first president of HSCPA.
A mission of the corporation, facilitating the transfer of the courthouse to a Salem entity, was carried out with HSCPA negotiating with county officials. By the end of 2003 a partnership was finalized with the Town, Village, and HSCPA with the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement. The Town became the owner of the property on January 1, 2004 with management by HSCPA. The Village continued in a supportive role. To date the courthouse has received no funding from Salem taxpayers.
HSCPA has been awarded numerous grants to underwrite the expense of restoring the courthouse for community service. Grants have been awarded by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, NYS Council on the Arts, Preservation League of NYS, and an Environmental Protection fund grant awarded by the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.