Logan County Courthouse, Eastern District
The Logan County Courthouse for the Eastern District is located in downtown Paris (Logan County). The courthouse square is bordered by Main, Express, Walnut, and Elm streets. The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the two-story building as architecturally and historically significant as one of the most impressive structures in the county and as a landmark in Paris. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 30, 1976.
After the county seat was moved to Paris from Reveille in 1875, many citizens of Logan County found the journey to Paris too troublesome due to mountainous terrain. In 1901, the Arkansas General Assembly split the county into two judicial districts for the citizens’ convenience. Paris was assigned the seat of justice of the Eastern District and Booneville (Logan County) took the Southern District.
Built in 1908, the red brick courthouse in Paris is the older of the county’s two courthouses. Architect A. Klingensmith designed it in the Georgian style and included many Classical features common in municipal buildings from the time. Its construction is especially impressive because of the small size of Paris at that time. The stately courthouse demonstrated the city’s civic pride and optimism about the future of Logan County. Today, the courthouse is the center for town affairs and hosts many community events.
The building’s most striking features are the impressive white-columned porticos that stand at three of the structure’s four sides. Atop the building is an octagonal clock tower that is one level high and has clock faces in four directions. Renovations in 1950 resulted in new glass and aluminum doors.
A large blackboard that shows election results by precinct and box dominates the main foyer. The courthouse, which has a wood-paneled ceiling and a multicolored marble floor, includes a full basement that has exterior access.
The courtroom takes up the north side of the building, the sole side that does not have a columned portico. In an unusual arrangement, the witness chair is raised two feet above ground and is surrounded by a low rail that does not reach the chair’s height, making it the focus. It sits below and in front of the judge’s bench. The jury box is placed beneath arched windows and is rather small for a section that must seat a dozen people. The courtroom also includes chandeliers made of etched milk glass and ornate steel.
The Logan County Courthouse in Paris is home to four war memorials. One is dedicated to veterans of World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Persian Gulf War from Logan County. Another is dedicated to the county’s veterans of the Vietnam War. A third is dedicated to the B-Battery, 1st Battalion, 206th Field Artillery of the Arkansas Army National Guard, which served in Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2003 to 2005. The fourth was dedicated by veterans’ organizations of Logan County in 1967 and honors all veterans.
For additional information:
Gill, John Purifoy, and Marjem Jackson Gill. On the Courthouse Square in Arkansas. N.p.: 1980.
“Logan County Courthouse, Eastern 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/LO0018.nr.pdf (accessed November 12, 2020).
Arkansas Historic Preservation Program
Last Updated: 11/12/2020