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Old McDonald County Courthouse - Pineville, Missouri
Posted by: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
N 36° 35.613 W 094° 23.019
15S E 376232 N 4050676
Quick Description: Historic former County Courthouse now museum in Pineville, Missouri.
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 4/7/2015 9:16:13 PM
Waymark Code: WMNNB5
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member iconions
Views: 0

Long Description:

The Old McDonald County Courthouse is a 2 ½-story stuccoed brick and frame building situated in the center of the public square in Pineville, McDonald County, Missouri. Located at 400 N. Main Street, the original brick building was constructed as a Foursquare in 1870-71 from a design attributed to architect Z. P. Cogswell. In 1905, a full-height addition was constructed of brick on the east, enlarging the west-facing building by approximately a third. In 1943 a one-story frame addition with a flat roof was added on the south. The two-story portion is three-bay on the east and west and five-bay on the north and south. The thick, load-bearing walls consist of soft, locally made bricks, many of which were salvaged from the rubble of a previous courthouse on the site. The building rests on a dressed and faced stone foundation with a stone water table. The hipped roof is slightly flared and each slope contains a vented dormer. A paneled frieze circles the entire second floor of the structure. Rafters are exposed and have shaped tips. The courthouse’s numerous double-hung 2/2 windows appear to be either original or very old. In the 1940s, the exterior was coated with stucco to prevent continued deterioration of the soft bricks. The building is painted white with rust-colored trim. The original floor plan is evident, and the recent removal of modern paneling and suspended ceilings has revealed much historic woodwork and other material. On the courthouse lawn, three memorials are noncontributing objects and a wooden bandstand is a noncontributing structure...

Completed in 1871, the Old McDonald County Courthouse in Pineville, Missouri, is locally significant under National Register Criterion A in the areas of Politics/Government and Social History. For 107 years, this Foursquare-style building served as the political and geographic focus of McDonald County, housing various governmental and other public functions within its walls of locally made bricks, many of which were salvaged from the ruins of a previous courthouse on the site which had been burned by bushwhackers during the Civil War. Also, the Old McDonald County Courthouse has become a sort of community shrine since 1938 when it played a supporting role in Jesse James, a Twentieth Century Fox movie loosely based on the legend of the notorious Missouri outlaw. Local citizens were hired for bit parts, Pineville’s recently paved streets were temporarily covered with dirt, and a host of stars including Tyrone Power in the title roll, Henry Fonda, Randolph Scott and Nancy Kelly came to town. Subsequently, the celebration of “Jesse James Days” became, and remains, a regular summer event in Pineville. Plus when a brand new courthouse was completed in 1978, McDonald County became Missouri’s only county to build a replacement courthouse several blocks off the square in order to preserve the old one for posterity.

National Register Nomination

The old McDonald County Courthouse is now under the control of the local historical society. The historical society is preserving, restoring and converting the building into a local history museum. They are doing this conversion and restoration as funds become available.

The courthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.

Year Built: 1870

Current Use of Building: Museum

Level of Courts: County

Architect: Z. P. Cogswell

Dates this building was used to house judicial proceedings: 1870-1977

Physical Address:
400 N. Main St. Pineville, Missouri


Related Website: [Web Link]

Hours: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
At least one original photograph should be added to the gallery. And please describe your impressions and visit to the courthouse.
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