History preserved as Smith County Cotton Belt Building sees repairs

History preserved as Smith County Cotton Belt Building sees repairs
Cotton Belt Building. (Source: KLTV News Staff)
Cotton Belt Building. (Source: KLTV News Staff)
Cotton Belt Building. (Source: KLTV News Staff)

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Built in 1955, Smith County's Cotton Belt Building originally housed the offices of the St. Louis Southwestern Railroad.

According the Smith County Historical Society's archives, the building was purchased by the county in 1985, used to store paper work and for office space overflow from the courthouse.

Everything from murder victims' clothing to stolen property could be found in its vault.

"Today this building houses the Tax Office," says Edward Nichols, Smith County Facility Services Director. "People come here all the time to take care of county business and we want to make sure that the building stays in good shape."

The county is putting some of those tax dollars toward improvements that will help preserve the building and it's history.

Currently the county is working on resealing all of the building's windows, replacing any broken panes, and resealing any cracks on the building's exterior.

"We basically want to waterproof the windows," says Nichols. "Settling issues cause the mortar to crack out which allows water infiltration from the rain.

Nichols says the county also has plans for additional improvements down the line, such as landscaping and streetscaping outside of the facility.

The county's five-year capital improvement plan announced last October includes $2.3 million in renovations at the Cotton Belt Building.

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