101 Places in Mississippi: Lafayette County Courthouse

The original Lafayette County courthouse was burned by Union troops in 1864.  The current courthouse, one of the oldest in the state and in continuous use as a courthouse, was built between 1871-1873 .  The courthouse circa 1930 before the building was extended with additional bays can be seen at the link.  The courthouse was extended in 1953, adding on to the point past the two arched windows.  According to the National Register of Historic Places nomination, the original drawings by the architect S. Boling were signed and dated April 1871.  The nomination called it:

…a locally significant example of eclecticism from the post Civil War period.

Also from the nomination, the building is described as:

…eclectic, showing influence of Greek Revival…the heavily bracketed cornice, arched fenestration and prominent cupola are concessions to Italianate…

Multiple brick chimneys disappeared.  The full-length pilasters divide the original bays from the addition of 1953.  The Greek Revival influence is seen in the porticos and pilastered frontispieces.

The clock tower is topped by a tin dome.  The clock itself was the subject of controversy during the renovation of the courthouse several years ago.  It seems that the clockmaker who had the clock for repair was less than timely in completing the work.

Thanks to Thomas Rosell at Preservation in Mississippi, I am increasing my architectural vocabulary.  I did have to do some research to uncover the meaning of fenestration and frontispiece, however.  I will be waiting for the opportunity to work one of those words into a conversation.

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5 Responses to 101 Places in Mississippi: Lafayette County Courthouse

  1. Susan says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but I think if I added onto a building I’d give a running pass at making the addition look like the original building. Seriously.
    Thanks for posting the original!

  2. Suzassippi says:

    Well, maybe they were going for some more of that eclectic approach, and did not think the fenestration (Ha, I found a way to use that word sooner than I thought!) really needed to be similar on both parts of the building.

    Seriously, you are right, and I noticed that when I posted the photo, though, truthfully, have never noticed it when going past the building.

    Thanks for stopping by in your “travels.” 🙂

  3. ELMalvaney says:

    Fenestration and frontispiece can both be useful as pick-up lines. As in, “Hey baby, I love your fenestration!” or “Has anyone ever told you what a great frontispiece you have?” Not that these have ever worked for me, but just throwing out the idea. 😉

  4. Thomas Rosell says:

    Thanks for the shout out! I’m glad you are enjoying the MissPres architectural word of the week and finding the words useful. It’s great to see the words put to use.

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