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Photographer's Note

Jasper County was established in 1841, but this amazing structure wasn't built until 1894. It looks somewhat older than that to me! The first courthouse was just a simple, single-story structure located at the north side of the current square, which was built by Levi H. Jenkins for a reported $398.50! It was dedicated in 1842. A two-story brick building replaced it in 1851, built for a modest $4760. That structure featured rooms for the Circuit court and associated offices on the ground floor, with a jail and additional offices on the upper floor. It was reportedly used as a hospital during the Civil War, but it wasn't terribly long-lived, as it was destroyed by fire in October, 1863.

The present one was a bit more resource-intensive, and controversial. The county court was situated in multiple temporary structures in the years after the war, including in a school, a renovated jail, and a Baptist church, for approximately thirty years, until officials decided that the population was such that a new courthouse was needed. Two were actually planned: this structure, and another at Joplin for the Circuit Court, which was not implemented due to budgeting issues. The city and county shared the cost for the reported $100,000 needed to construct this elaborate structure. At least sixteen architects, several with national renown, submitted bids, but the project was awarded to M.A. Orlopp of New Orleans, who had built about a dozen other courthouses, including in Dallas and New Orleans. The plans called for a 106-by-133-foot structure with multiple floors; the city of Carthage was granted use of four rooms. The cornerstone was laid on August 21, 1894, but due to perpetual conflict between the architect and the court-appointed superintendent of construction, Nelson L. Damon, work was slow, to the degree that some townspeople called for Orlopp's dismissal. Despite the difficulties, the new courthouse was finally dedicated on October 9, 1895, prominently situated in the center of the town square. I didn't get a chance to go inside during my visit, but it's a magnificent edifice! It's now on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 77 W: 78 N: 740] (1555)
  • Genre: Places
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2011-09-00
  • Categories: Architecture
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2018-12-07 0:02
Viewed: 133
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Additional Photos by Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 77 W: 78 N: 740] (1555)
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