OTTAWA -- Public officials, both past and present, gathered on the north lawn of the Putnam County Courthouse Sunday afternoon to celebrate its century of service to the county's citizens.
Approved for construction by voters in the 1909 and designed by noted Columbus architect Frank Packard, the courthouse was completed in 1913.
Sunday's commemoration in-cluded comments from a number of local officials, including state Sen. Cliff Hite and Congressman Bob Latta.
"I know what courthouses mean and there is such pride that this county has taken in maintaining this courthouse," said Latta. "It's absolutely beautiful. It's a beautiful structure not only for here in Ottawa and Putnam County but for the state of Ohio."
Latta presented county officials Sunday with a proclamation from the U.S. House of Representatives as well as the flag that was flown over the U.S. Capital for the courthouse's 100th anniversary.
The afternoon's keynote speaker, former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Robert Cupp, spoke to those gathered about the importance of the courthouse what it means to the county.
"As the community gathers here today ... I have noted both a sense of pride and a sense of gratitude," said Cupp. "Pride that those who undertook the designing and building of this courthouse had the vision and the foresight to create a public building that is beautiful, functioning and enduring. And pride that the courthouse ... reflects well on the community-spirited and civic-minded people who live and work and raise their families in Putnam County in 2013, just as in 1913."
He commended past county officials for preserving courthouse's condition over the years.
"... They have devoted the resources necessary to maintain in good repair this structure for 100 years so that today the courthouse's functionality and its history exist in harmony, reinforcing each other," he said.
Cupp noted that, while the building itself is a "landmark of beauty and stability" for the county, it's what takes place on the inside that is important.
"The courthouse building is only an outward symbol of something vastly more important that occurs within its walls," Cupp explained. "That is the process of local self-government. Not just local government, but local self-government.
"We all know that history is a great torch that illuminates the past and gives direction to our the path into the future," he added. "The past 100 years have been remarkable but the past is a prologue to the future and so the next 100 years are likely to be even more remarkable. What a better way to honor those who came before us ... than by taking up the challenge of working hard to improve the circumstances around us, lighting the torch of new visions for the future and by making the path we are traveling lighter, smoother and straighter for the generations that will follow?"
All of the courthouse's offices were open Sunday for the public to tour and several elected officials and courthouse employees were on hand to explain their roles in government.