Lafayette County Courthouse ~ Lexington, MO
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
N 39° 11.118 W 093° 52.965
15S E 423760 N 4337710
Quick Description: Oldest courthouse in Missouri still in use as a courthouse.
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 1/17/2009 6:32:04 AM
Waymark Code: WM5K4Q
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member txoilgas
Views: 18

Long Description:

Courthouse Information from Wikipedia:

The Lafayette County Courthouse is a courthouse in Lexington, Missouri.
It was built in 1847 and is the oldest courthouse in continuous use west of the Mississippi River. It is known far and wide for the cannonball embedded in the upper left column, a remnant of the Civil War Battle of Lexington I, fought on September 18, 19 and 20, 1861.

In 1847, County Judges Thomas Gordon, Nathaniel Price, and Joseph W. Hall determined that a new Courthouse was needed to serve Lafayette County, Missouri. The judges chose a site on the new Main Street in Lexington, an approved plans for a magnificent structure of the Classic Greek Revival design. Silas Silver, John Catron, Robert Aull, and Henderson Young served as project and contract overseers, and William Dougherty was the architect. On April 1, 1847, the plans were accepted and $12,000 was set aside for building the new structure. The final construction costs were $14,382.46. The old courthouse in "Old Town" Lexington was sold for $1,500 and the old jail was sold for $51.00. This left the total expenditure for the new building at $12,831.46.

The Courthouse is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Historical Marker on Site Text:

Begun in 1847, the county's third courthouse is the oldest remaining in use in Missouri. The early portion, with its columned portico, remains unchanged except for modern lighting, heating and office equipment. The office wing on the east side, was begun in 1854 as a one-story building. Afterwards a second story was added. In 1939 it was connected to the main courthouse, providing new vaults and offices. During the Battle of Lexington, Sept. 18-20, 1861, a cannon ball struck the east column and remains in place. The cupola was part of the original construction but the clock was installed in 1886 by Lexington citizens.

State Historical Marker Text:

Lexington, on the bluffs above the broad Missouri, grew up around Jack's Ferry, 1819, to become by 1860 one of the great river ports on the State. Prosperous river trade and agricultural richness of the area made the town a commercial center, an outfitting point for emigrants West, and an educational and financial metropolis. Lexington became the seat of Lafayette (then Lillard) Co., 1823.

Here were established a U.S. Land Office, 1823; a fifth Branch Bank of the State of Missouri, 1845; and offices of the great freighting firm, Russel, Majors, and Waddell, in 1850's. The proud roll of early schools lists the first college founded by Masons in the world, Masonic College, opened 1848; Baptist Female College chartered 1855; Elizabeth Aull (Presbyterian) Seminary, 1859; and Central (Methodist) College for Women, 1869. Today's noted Wentworth Military Academy was founded, 1880.

Many lovely ante-bellum homes reflect Classic-Revival design of the courthouse, built 1847-49. The cannon ball embedded in courthouse column is relic of Confederate victory in the 1861 Battle of Lexington.

In 1861, Lexington was early regarded as a strategic military prize and was occupied by Union troops to prevent the State Guard forces north and south of Missouri River from uniting. Gen. Sterling Price moved on Lexington to break this Federal control and a bitter three-day battle ensued, Sept. 18-20, 1861, culminating in an attack called the Battle of the Hemp Bales. The Federals under Col. J.A. Mulligan were defeated.

Among points of interest are Lexington Battlefield; Anderson House, 1853, site of violent encounters while used as a battle hospital, now a public, historic house museum; replica of Masonic College Hall; Machpelah Cemetery and grave of first settler Gilead Rupe; "Madonna of the Trail" monument by F.C. Hubbard, one of 12 in the U.S., erected by D.A.R. to mark National Old Trails Roads; Episcopal Church, a Gothic-Revival chapel, built in 1848; and Public Library and Historical Association, housed in former Cumberland Presbyterian Church, built about 1840.

Near Lexington Bridge, completed 1925, the side-wheeler Saluda exploded in 1852. Most of the passengers, Mormons, perished.

Year Built: 1847

Current Use of Building: County Courthouse

Level of Courts: County

Architect: William Dougherty

Dates this building was used to house judicial proceedings: 1847 - present

Physical Address:
1001 Main St., Lexington, MO 64067

8:30am - 4:30pm Monday thru Friday (Except County Holidays)

Related Website: [Web Link]

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