Old and cold: Many courthouses are tough to heat

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GUTHRIE, Okla. (AP) -- The nation's courthouses are old and cold.

When the temperature sunk to 42 degrees inside the Okfuskee County district attorney's office during a recent cold spell in Oklahoma, workers had to don coats, hats and extra layers of warm clothing. With little money and the old boiler system's pipes rotting in the walls, officials say they had few options on how to warm the courthouse built in Okemah in 1926.

The situation is similar elsewhere. Counties nationwide are collecting less in taxes and struggling to keep up with maintenance on aging courthouses, hundreds of which are on the National Register of Historic Places.

The National Center for State Courts says about 2,500 courthouses are run down or need significant maintenance to keep them safe.