Making History

History can be viewed through sweeping arks in class and stories from grandparents, but it can also take the form of a few pieces of wood, ornately constructed and set to work.

So is the case with the desk which now sits behind the main counter in the Dallas County Recorder’s office.

Recorder Grimes in 1903 and Recorder Airhart in 2011


The desk, which was built near the beginning of the last century, had stood, up to a few years ago, in the Recorder’s office at the Dallas County Courthouse in Adel. It was moved to storage as work on the courthouse forced occupants out to temporary trailers. Then, last year when work wrapped up at the county offices west of the courthouse at 902 Court Street, the desk was moved again to the Board of Supervisors chamber.
But now it’s home, moved last Friday, April 29, back into the Recorder’s office where some say it belongs.

Since taking over as Reorder in January, the desk has become a sort of mission for Chad Airhart.

“When I started, one of the first things staff asked about was the desk, can we get the desk back,” Airhart said.

Prior to being moved to Supervisors’ chamber, the only real reminder of the Recorder’s deck was a picture which hung on the wall in the Recorder’s office of Dallas County Recorder J.W. Grimes and his wife and Deputy Recorder Gertrude Grimes.

The photo dates back to 1903 and clearly shows the desk along with a stool which was in Airhart’s office.

“In a way I see the job of Recorder as a sort of county historian,” Airhart said. “We are the registrar of the county, and many of the records of county residents passed over that desk in the last century.”

The desk is new set behind the counter near the front of the recorders office, along with the photo of Grimes from 1903.

“It was pretty exciting seeing it come across the street,” Airhart said. “It’s appropriate to have it in our office again.”