The COIVID-19 pandemic has ruined a lot of birthday parties for a lot of people over the past year, and it even ruined a big party for the Old Guilford County Court House in Downtown Greensboro. 

That building turned 100 years old in the spring of 2020, and, before the pandemic hit, Guilford County officials were planning to throw a large coming-out party for the building that has been radically renovated, cleaned and beautified over the past five years.

Guilford County Clerk to the Board Robin Keller was busy a year ago planning the ceremony and party for early 2020.  She said this week that the building is likely to get a one-century birthday party after all – albeit a late one.  Keller said the party could be just a few months away.

“It has certainly slowed us down,” Keller said of the coronavirus pandemic.  “But It is my hope that we can do some events in April to showcase the building.”

The building at 301 W. Market St. in Greensboro, which now houses key county administrative functions such as the county manager’s office and the legal department, is the heart of Guilford County government.

The building’s exterior was covered with grime before a massive cleaning two years ago, and chunks of the roof ledge were falling off periodically. 

Inside, in a second-floor restroom, a large cinderblock fell on one of the toilets in a stall that was the favored stall of the former county manager. Fortunately, it was not occupied at that time. 

The renovations have taken care of most of the structural and interior issues.

Designed by architect Harry Barton, construction on the building began in 1918 and it opened for business in 1920.  The five-story building served as the county’s courthouse until 1974.  Many people are surprised to learn that it used to serve as the county jail as well.