Lafayette County Courthouse - Lexington, Missouri
Posted by: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
N 39° 11.122 W 093° 52.970
15S E 423753 N 4337718
Historic county courthouse in Lexington, Missouri.
Waymark Code: WMBJBN
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 05/25/2011
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 9

"The Lafayette County Courthouse in Lexington, Missouri, is significant as a fine example of antebellum architecture of the "Classic Revival" design. It has additional significance as one of the oldest continually used courthouses in the state of Missouri.

The original plans for the courthouse exhibit some of the purest American Classic Revival thought in Missouri. In design, the structure cautiously remains within the established rules of classical-temple form. There is a portico across the entire front and a roof ridge running from front to back. The roof is low of pitch and originally void of any projections. All the windows and doors are correctly trabeated. The arch, which has no place in Greek-temple architecture, is carefully avoided. The wall surfaces are. as smooth as brick allows and the structure in painted the traditional white.

The present Lafayette County Courthouse is the third such structure constructed by the county, yet it is one of the oldest continually used courthouses in the state. [It is now the oldest continuously used courthouse in Missouri, the previous oldest in Independence is no longer used as a courthouse]  The first courthouse at Lexington, built in 1825, served the county for only a short period of years. Because of its poor construction, the County Court replaced this structure in 1832. With the movement of Lexington's commercial and residential districts away from the original townsite towards the Missouri River in the 1840's, the county decided to move the site of the courthouse to the new center of the town's activity.

The County Court, meeting on March 15, 1847, ordered that "a New Court-House be erected on the public square in the city of Lexington.,. and that Silas Silver, John Carton and Robert Aull be appointed Commissioners on the part of the county to contract for and superintend the building of the same."  The Commissioner selected the plans of William Daugherty, a local architect, and construction of the $12,000 structure began promptly. In October, 1847 the Lafayette County Court awarded a $840 contract to Elijah Littlejohn and Alexander McHaddin for the building of a cupola on the newly completed courthouse.

The Lafayette County Courthouse is well known for a cannon ball lodged in one of the large columns of the building's north side. This occurred during the Battle of Lexington which was fought between Federal and Missouri State Guard forces on September 18-20, 1861. But more importantly, the courthouse is known throughout Missouri for its distinctive architecture and age." - National Register Nomination form

Street address:
Public Sq.
Lexington, Missouri

County / Borough / Parish: Lafayette

Year listed: 1970

Historic (Areas of) Significance: Architecture/Engineering

Periods of significance: 1825-1849

Historic function: Government

Current function: Government

Privately owned?: no

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 1: [Web Link]

Season start / Season finish: Not listed

Hours of operation: Not listed

Secondary Website 2: Not listed

National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date and brief account of your visit. Include any additional observations or information that you may have, particularly about the current condition of the site. Additional photos are highly encouraged, but not mandatory.
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