Boone County Courthouse
The Boone County Courthouse in Harrison is a 1909 Georgian Revival–styled red brick building designed by architect Charles L. Thompson of Little Rock (Pulaski County) and built by A. M. Byrnes and C. H. McCauley. The two-story structure is one of the most architecturally significant courthouses in Arkansas.
A basic frame structure was used as the courthouse from 1873 until 1909, when the Boone County government hired Thompson to design a new courthouse for the community. Thompson was very well known throughout Arkansas as one of the most prominent and inventive architects in the region.
The building itself is a two-story structure built of red brick with red tiling on the roof. Two chimneys rise from the gabled roof, which is surrounded by a dentiled cornice. Bands of cast stone extend around the building at the first and second story lines, while four horizontal bands of brick encompass the building at the basement level.
The windows are grouped in pairs and are double hung around the first and second stories, while the basement has small double-hung windows. The north and south sides of the building have projecting bays marked by four evenly spaced pilasters made of cast stone.
The entry features wooden double doors with beveled glass panes and a square transom. These doors are framed by cast stone and topped by a segmental-arch pediment supported by scroll brackets. The interior has marble dog-leg stairs and colorfully patterned ceramic tile floors with marble baseboards.
The roof was renovated in 2006 at a cost of $126,800. The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program provided $57,000, while the rest of the money came from the county’s general fund. As most of the red roof tiles were in good shape, roofing crews could move the good tiles over the repairs as they repaired each section of the roof. Few other alterations have been made to the building, besides some necessary modernization. All the oak woodwork inside the building is original and in good condition.
The courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 21, 1976. The courthouse is one of seventy structures constituting the Harrison Courthouse Square Historic District, which was added to the National Register on May 6, 1999.
By early 2022, conditions at the courthouse had deteriorated, with the wiring no longer able to support the necessary electronics, and the building’s boiler having quit; in addition, the building lacked an elevator. County authorities consequently approved, in February 2022, the purchase of the church building of First Presbyterian Church, with plans to renovate the building for use as a courthouse; the Presbytery of Arkansas approved the sale in early March 2022.
For additional information:
“Boone County Courthouse.” National Register of Historic Places nomination form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/BO0001.nr.pdf (accessed November 8, 2021).
Boone County Historical and Railroad Society. History of Boone County. Paducah, KY: Turner Publishing Co., 1998.
Bowden, Bill. “Harrison Church to Turn into County’s Courthouse.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, February 22, 2022, pp. 1B, 3B. Online at https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2022/feb/22/first-presbyterian-church-to-become-new-boone/ (accessed February 22, 2022).
“Harrison Courthouse Square Historic District.” National Register of Historic Places nomination form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/BO0091.nr.pdf (accessed November 8, 2021).
Rea, Ralph R. Boone County and Its People. Van Buren, AR: Press-Argus, 1955.
Little Rock, Arkansas
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