Historic Alabama Courthouses

Historic Alabama Courthouses : A Century of Their Images and Stories

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Alabama's oldest courthouses have witnessed a panorama of history. Historic Alabama Courthouses resurrects historical facts and images of buildings that were the centers of much of the state's public life during its first century. Photographs of more than 120 buildings, the earliest that the author could find for each structure, are gathered in this significant volume along with historical, architectural, social, legal, and political accounts of their contributions to the landscape of Alabama. Historic Alabama Courthouses also emphasizes architects and builders. Although the names of many of the principals are unknown, those who can be identified play large roles in the stories told in the book. Not only are the architects' personal histories important, but also the history of the architecture profession in the state can be observed through the relationships and projects they created. Finally, the stories of Alabama's courthouse builders and contractors are accounts of technical innovation, entrepreneurship, and sometimes imitation, revealing that fashions spread as widely and rapidly in building design and construction as in any other endeavor.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 162 pages
  • 175 x 251 x 8mm | 272g
  • NewSouth Books
  • Montgomery, Albania
  • English
  • Illustrations, unspecified
  • 1588383342
  • 9781588383341

Review quote

"Reading this book is like taking a private tour of Alabama's historic courthouses with a good friend who is exceptionally adept at architectural history and telling the stories of architects and builders and townspeople alike. The images are exemplary and worth poring over separate from the text, but the interplay of words and pictures is even more informative and entertaining. The explanations of style and local history are witty and pungent, and if you ever wanted to know what that odd doohickey on a turret or staircase is called, Hughes will tell you, without fuss or condescension." --Frances Osborn Robb, author of Shot in Alabama: A Photographic History, 1839-1941
"Delos Hughes's copiously illustrated Historic Alabama Courthouses: A Century of Their Images and Stories is a significant and much needed visual archive of an important, but neglected, part of early Alabama's built environment--the county courthouse. Professor Hughes's short, but witty and insightful, essays accompanying these images provide the reader with architectural information including design sources for each building as well as other interesting facts about these early courthouses. This pioneering study will undoubtedly become a standard reference tool in any well stocked Alabama library." --Robert O. Mellown, Associate Professor of Art History Emeritus, The University of Alabama
"From far corners of the state, from private hands and from public collections where some have lain all but forgotten, Delos Hughes has pulled together a remarkable array of vintage Alabama courthouse images. All sixty-seven counties are represented, and often multiple generations of courthouses. Accompanying each entry is a brief but meticulously researched interpretive text. Here we see the rustic as well as the refined, embodying in architecture the public contours of one state's history. What a fitting publication as Alabama prepares to celebrate its bicentennial!" --Robert S. Gamble, Retired Senior Architectural Historian, Alabama Historical Commission
"In Historic Alabama Courthouses, Delos Hughes leaves no doubt that he understands and appreciates our architectural heritage. American county courthouses have a universal appeal; they speak for their entire communities. Built to represent all the people, they are sources of civic pride. Hughes wants his readers to feel in our souls that the world did not begin when each of us was born and that we are linked to those who have gone before and who will come after. Historic Alabama Courthouses offers us the gift of a richer, broader, deeper understanding of life, and of life connected to others." --Jeffrey C. Benton, author of Through Others' Eyes: Published Accounts of Antebellum Montgomery, Alabama
"Historic Alabama Courthouses is a treasure for history buffs, students of architecture, and lovers of beautiful memorable buildings." --Loretta Gillespie, Cullman Sense
"This book is a charmer. The stories say much about the communities where the courthouses were built. If you love local history, you'll really enjoy this one!" --Dave "Doc" Kirby, WTBF-AM/FM
"With witty dialogue and insight, Delos Hughes's book provides a new set of viewing glasses to observe the personality and expressions fused into Alabama's earliest judicial architecture. The author escorts the reader on a journey stopping in each Alabama county, exploring Alabama's earliest architectural expressions of justice, ranging from log cabins to Neoclassical Revival. Hughes notes that courthouses often reflect through their architecture the ideals of the communities that built them. These elements not only demonstrate the artistic preferences of the county, but also tell stories of its politics, the economy, socioeconomic character and ethnic backgrounds." --Southern Literary Review
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