Newspaper Clippings: Leflore County Courthouse (1904-05)

I spent a little time at the state archives this weekend scrolling through the microfilm newspapers. It was packed Saturday morning, and competition was fierce for the two remaining microfilm copiers in service. One thing I’ve learned in my years of research is that genealogists can fight dirty when it comes to grabbing the microfilm copier! Everybody is watching everyone else, and angling to spot the opening first.

Anyway, as usual, I was looking for something else, but came across this clipping from the Greenwood Commonwealth and thought the MissPres universe might find it as interesting as I did. Not only do we learn about the design process for the Leflore County Courthouse, but we also gain some insight into how Greenwood–not a courthouse square town originally–created a courthouse square after the fact. Somehow, I suspect there was probably a little more arm-twisting of the other property owners than comes across in this article . . . .

You might remember “Mr. Hunt” from previous posts here on MissPres, especially “Architect Pics: Reuben Harrison Hunt of Chattanooga” and “More about R.H. Hunt and an Art Deco Delight.” Three points for the MissPreser who can name the contractor for this building.

—————————————-

Greenwood Commonwealth, October 8, 1904

TO BE A $68,000 STONE STRUCTURE
ACCORDING TO DESIGN OF ARCHITECT HUNT

Board of Supervisors Adopt Plans for Court House and Purchase Additional Property for Establishment of a “Court Square”

The board of Supervisors met with all members present in regular session this week at the court house. The regular routine of work was attended to, after which the board settled down to real business in connection with the new court house and “court square.”

Greenwood Sanborn map, 1904, showing old courthouse and plans to acquire other parcels

A monster petition, including the names of nearly all the citizens of Leflore County, asking that the county purchase the Marye and Craig properties adjoining the court house for the establishment of a “court square,” was presented to the Board. The owners had set no price on the property, but had expressed their willingness to sell to the county, and left with the Board the right to set the price and agreed to accept the amount decided upon. After receiving the petition and learning that the people of the county desired the purchase of the property, the Board set the price at $21,500.00. So it is now a certainty that we will have a “court square” as well as a court house.

Greenwood Sanborn map, 1911, showing new courthouse on its own square

The plans and specifications of Mr. R.H. Hunt, of Chattanooga, Tenn., were accepted by the Board. The cost of the building, according to these plans will be $68,000.00. There were fourteen architects who presented plans to the Board, and each was given thirty minutes to explain in detail the advantages of his plans, and after hearing the arguments the Board unanimously adopted the plans of Mr. Hunt.

Among the list of architects who submitted plans for the new court house to the Board of Supervisors, are the following: Mr. Stevens, of Birmingham; H.D. Martin of Galveston, Texas; R.H. Hunt, of Chattanooga; A.J. Bryan, of New Orleans; Patrick Henry Weathers, of Jackson; J.M. Framlette, of Gulfport, and L.L. Hunter, of North Carolina.

Courtesy of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Cooper Postcard Collection

The plans designed by Mr. Hunt call for a four-entrance stone building absolutely fire-proof throughout in construction, and when finished will be one of the handsomest and finest building[s] in Mississippi, in proportion to the cost. Such is the opinion of several uninterested architects, who are thoroughly familiar with the details. The total cost, including the grounds purchased by the county, will amount to nearly $100,000.

The seating capacity of the court room is estimated to be 650 to 1000 excluding the jury box. The ceiling will be 24 feet, and the first story 26 feet. On the first floor will be the chancery and county clerks’ offices each 28×45 feet; petit and grand jury rooms, 20×25 feet; corridors running each way. The exact dimensions of the new building will be 93×132 feet.



Categories: Architectural Research, Courthouses, Greenwood

4 replies

  1. R. Jesty & Company of Winona the contractor.

    Sodemen Heat and Power Co. of St. Louis was the Heating contractor.

    J.T. Phillips of Greenwood was the Plumbing contractor.

    Here is a great website about the courthouse:

    http://www.aboutgreenwoodms.com/postcards/courthouse.html

    Like

  2. That’s a great site, and the fact that I have it linked in the sidebar made it too easy! Good job though!

    Like

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