McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Local News

April 15, 2013

Pittsburg County Courthouse foundation is more than a century old

McALESTER — The three story Pittsburg County Courthouse rests on rusty pilings and the cracked wet foundation of the old Busby Hotel, built more than 100 years ago.

In the basement of courthouse the smell of mold permeates the air as water from underground seepage drips from a run-off pipe into an old paint bucket.

The paint bucket over-flows and the water forms largedark pools on the cracked cement floor.

The Moldy stagnant water collects and rests at the base of foundation pilings where rusty metal appears through cracks in the century old structures.

Maintenence Manager Carl Thomason said the basement has been in that condition for the 13 years that he’s been there.

 “The water comes from groundwater seepage, we can’t stop it,” Thomason said.

“These are the same pilings and the same foundation from the old Busby Hotel.”

District 2 Commission Kevin Smith said it’s been like that for as long as he has been in office and he said it’s the safest structure in town.

He said although the News Capital reported in 2007 there was black mold growing in the stagnating water, Smith said the black mold was removed during the courthouse renovations completed in 2010.

“The mold down there is not what they call ‘black mold,’” Smith said.

Smith also said the engineering firm Atlas General Contractors and in Bixby and Architects in Partnership in Norman contracted during the renovations said the foundation was sound.

And, because the basement is closed off for use by employees or the public, Smith said the stagnating water does not have to be cleaned up.

 Erin Hatfield of the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality said there are no Oklahoma laws concerning mold and there is no regulation concerning mold growth in public buildings.

Meanwhile when asked about the rusty cracked pilings, Smith said he feels safe in the courthouse.

“I feel safer in the courthouse than any other structure in town,” Smith said.

Contact Jeanne LeFlore at

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Crash south of Kiowa McAlester trooper saluted

    Trooper Sean Mass of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol’s Troop D, McAlester, has been recognized as a Trooper of the Year by AAA Oklahoma.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Men's Holy Week Breakfast Washington: Jesus forgives is message at Holy Week Breakfast

    All of us can find salvation and forgiveness of our sins, just like one of the thieves who had been crucified next to Jesus on the cross.
    That’s the message the Rev. Anthony Washington, pastor of the Mount Triumph Baptist Church in McAlester, delivered as featured speaker for the third gathering of this year’s Men’s Holy Week breakfast.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mills: 'Nothing personal' in contesting Layden's candidacy

    Pittsburg County Special District Judge Tim Mills says there’s nothing personal in his contesting the candidacy of Bill Layden, who is also a former special district judge in the county.

    April 16, 2014

  • MCALESTER GENERIC 1 McAlester student accepted to Arts Institute

    Brandi Hongell, of McAlester, has been accepted to the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain, an arts academy held in June in southwestern Oklahoma.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cuttin' it close: Karr files for Ward 4 seat, barely beating deadline

    Three minutes.
    Former Ward 4 City Councilor Robert Karr filed his declaration of candidacy for the vacant Ward 4 seat, filled out the papers, got them notarized and back into the  Pittsburg County Election Board office just three minutes before the deadline to do so elapsed at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

    April 16, 2014

  • Honored McAlester grad - Commander Pete Nilsen to speak at Armed Forces Day luncheon

    McAlester High School alumnus Commander Peter K. Nilsen assistant chief of staff, Navy Missile and Defense Command will be the keynote speaker May 2 at the Armed Forces Day Luncheon at the McAlester Army Ammunitions Plant.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Square logo.jpg April and May named Cleanup McAlester Months

    McAlester Mayor Steve Harrison signed a proclamation Tuesday designating the months of April and May as “Cleanup McAlester Month.”

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • HolyWeek4Wed 1.jpg Gospel: 'The Good News' heard at Holy Week Breakfast

    Steve Glazier presented a pair testimonies of individuals who went on to have a significant impact on others  — a bank robber and a hony-tonk songwriter — when he spoke at the second gathering of this year’s Men’s Holy Week Breakfasts.

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • Dogwood Decorations All ladies welcome to luncheon

    The 42nd annual Women’s Holy Week Salad Luncheon is Thursday. The Thursday before Easter is commonly called Maundy Thursday by most Christians.

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos 2 Stories

  • Still no filings for Ward 4 city council seat

    What if they called an election and nobody came —no candidates, that is.
    That’s the way things were shaping up late Tuesday afternoon for the vacant Ward 4 seat on the McAlester City Council.

    April 15, 2014

Seasonal Content
AP Video
NDN Video

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.