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Odd inheritance: 1889 landmark courthouse with clock tower

LITCHFIELD, Conn. (AP) A Missouri man is inheriting a 19th century courthouse in Connecticut under an unusual lease agreement signed by his ancestors in 1803.

The state of Connecticut closed the landmark 1889 courthouse with a Seth Thomas clock tower in Litchfield on Aug. 25 and moved operations to a new courthouse a few miles away in Torrington.

Under the 214-year-old lease between the state and six landowners, the property reverts back to the landowners' descendants if the state stops using the property for a courthouse.

Seventy-eight-year-old George Beckwith, of Goodman, Missouri, will be inheriting the property, along with the estates of his two late sisters.

Beckwith says he doesn't want to be a courthouse owner. He and his sisters' relatives will be selling the property to a historic preservation group in Litchfield.

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