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The new park behind the Charleston County Courthouse is named to honor a late county councilman who helped ensure that Broad and Meeting streets remained the Four Corners of Law in reality -- not just in local lore.

But the park does a lot more than that.

It also heals one of the city's last gaping wounds from Hurricane Hugo.

And its design subtly recognizes the varied complexities of more than two centuries of Charleston history.

This public space has been more than two decades in the making. Its story began in 1989, when Hugo ripped the roof off the courthouse, triggering an extensive debate about how to fix it.

Restoring the courthouse to its 1792 appearance -- and tearing down its 20th century additions -- opened up the land for this new park but also meant the county needed a sizable judicial center nearby for more courtroom space.

After the new judicial center opened in 2002, this area remained a construction site as the O.T. Wallace Office Building was fixed up just to the north. Once that work was done, the new judicial center's leaks and other flaws appeared.

As contractors returned to the site to make those extensive repairs, this highly visible area would remain an eyesore.

Until this year.

The new park was built by Wildwood Contractors and designed by Bryan Whitley, an architect with the county's Capital Projects division and landscape architect Joel Evans with the county's Planning Department.

They did what good designers often do: They listened to a lot of people.

Preservationists urged them to recreate courtyard square, an L-shaped street running north and west of the historic courthouse. But like some old streets within the College of Charleston campus, it's made of brick and limited only to pedestrians (though fire trucks can remove the bollards and drive on the street during emergencies).

Preservationists also urged the county to explore the archaeological remains behind the courthouse, and so this new park is really two parks.

Directly behind the courthouse is a simple, grassy yard with the brick outlines of the old privies and housekeeper's building that once existed on the site.

Closer to the O.T. Wallace Building, the park offers a more shaded area with seating around a brick courtyard. And a new plaque in the ground carries the names of the 53 Quakers whose bodies were reinterred here in the 1970s when the county built a parking garage on top of their cemetery.

"We wanted to do the right thing in recognizing the Quakers," Whitley says.

But part of this courtyard's fence was moved west, behind the courthouse, so this public space would have a more unified look along Meeting Street -- much like Washington Park across the street.

Meanwhile, this courtyard continues to feature a large memorial to L. Mendel Rivers, the influential 20th century congressman who helped build up the Navy's presence in Charleston.

"There's nothing here that shouldn't be here," Evans says.

Like many new parks, it will improve with time as its two live oaks mature and provide more shade, and as the azaleas grow and hide the mechanical lines running along the base of the Blake Tenement Building.

The park is named for the Barrett Lawrimore because the former council chairman navigated the contentious debate about keeping the courts downtown versus moving them out. Lawrimore died in October 2004.

They stayed, and the downtown is a more vital, interesting place as a result.

The new park is handsome, but not fancy, and maybe that's why Lawrimore's name fits on it so well. He was a straightforward, no-frills sort of guy.

"He would love this park," his widow, Marilyn, said at the groundbreaking. "because he liked to plant things and see them grow. Agriculture was his thing."