Crittenden County Courthouse
The Crittenden County Courthouse is a two-story brick building erected on the courthouse square in Marion (Crittenden County). Construction of the building was completed in 1911 in the Classical Revival style of architecture. The courthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 3, 1977.
The first Crittenden County seat was established in the town of Greenock. The first court was held in the home of William Lloyd in June 1826. In 1836, the county seat moved from Greenock to Marion.
The present-day courthouse is one of three structures that have been built in Marion to serve as the county’s seat of government. The original courthouse in Marion was a frame building, which was destroyed by a cyclone several years after it was built. For many years afterward, court was held in various places in Marion, including churches and vacant storehouses. In 1873, a two-story brick courthouse was erected in the same location as the frame building at a cost of more than $100,000. The brick courthouse was destroyed by fire in 1909.
The current courthouse is located at 85 Jackson Street on the same site as the previous two. The structure was designed by Chamberlain and Company of Fort Worth, Texas, and was built by Falls City Construction Company of Louisville, Kentucky. The cost to build the courthouse and jail was more than $100,000.
The nine-bay structure features identical north and south elevations with the front façade on the south. The porticos are supported by six Ionic columns. The words “Obedience to the Law is Liberty” are written in bold black letters on the friezes above both porticos. The angular, flat roof is topped by a large dome with a copper-color finish. The roofline is decorated with simple molding on the cornice and plain modillions. The east and west elevations are five bays wide, each containing a protruding central bay. Both sides are identical, with the exception of two of the first-story windows on the east elevation being filled in with bricks.
The interior of the courthouse was extensively remodeled in 1945 and 1955, resulting in lowered ceilings, paneled walls, carpeted floors, and a remodeled courtroom. The original tile floor in the front entrance hall and the exterior of the building remain unaltered.
Situated on the front courthouse lawn is a granite Civil War monument that was erected in October 1936 by the Crittenden County chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy as a memorial to the Confederate soldiers of Crittenden County.
For additional information:
“Crittenden 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/CT0018.nr.pdf (accessed October 18, 2021).
The Crittenden County Rambler: Guide to Historic Places. West Memphis, AR: Crittenden County Historical Society, 1983.
Woolfolk, Margaret Elizabeth. A History of Crittenden County, Arkansas. Greenville, SC: Southern Historical Press, 1993.
Pearl Lentz Sayles
Arkansas Historic Preservation Program
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