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Scaling down: 'Vampire Diaries' donates courthouse replica

Staff Photo: Erin Evans
 Newton County Public Works employee Wes Kite checks out a replica of the historic courthouse donated to the county by producers of the show “The Vampire Diaries,” which is filmed locally. 

Staff Photo: Erin Evans Newton County Public Works employee Wes Kite checks out a replica of the historic courthouse donated to the county by producers of the show “The Vampire Diaries,” which is filmed locally. 

COVINGTON — The Newton County Historic Courthouse has provided a picturesque backdrop for shows like "In the Heat of the Night," "Dukes of Hazzard" and, most recently, "The Vampire Diaries."

Now, the landmark has been replicated with precision by a film crew and gifted to the county. The replica was used in last year's season finale of The CW's "The Vampire Diaries," which featured a parade in downtown Covington. The structure was so impressive that several private buyers offered to purchase it.

But instead, it was presented as a gift to Newton County, on the condition that it be stored and maintained with care and be used at local gatherings such as parades and festivals.

"They wanted to donate it to the county because they wanted it to be used to benefit the community," said Board of Commissioners Chairman Kathy Morgan, who accepted the gift with the consent of the board. Morgan said the board also consented to having public works build a trailer at a cost of $1,600 to haul the courthouse to and from events. She said the trailers already owned by the county were too high and would have required the steeple on the replica courthouse to be removed and reattached for transportation.

"We felt it was a minimal expense to protect a gift to the county like that," said Morgan, who added she believes the first official use of the replica will be during the annual Christmas parade.

"I was very appreciative and thankful for the donation," she said.