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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cumberland Co. Courthouse - Crossville, TN

Cumberland Co. Courthouse 1

Located in Crossville, TN, this courthouse was built in 1905 to replace the older courthouse located across the street. The older courthouse was damaged but not completely destroyed by a fire. The damage was severe enough that a new courthouse was needed, but the old courthouse was repaired and is now used as a military museum.

The building, like many in the area, is construced using the distinctive local Crab Orchard Stone.. This stone is a rare sandstone from nearby Crab Orcahrd Mountain and is noted for it's color streaks and differing shades of brown.

The courthouse cost $23,000 to build in 1905. It's two stories and has a monumental entrance consisting of dual arches, large 2nd story windows and a stepped gable.

Around the rest of the exterior on the first floor is a strongly articulated horizontal stone course, whereas the second floor has a smooth aslar finish. Atop the courthouse is an elaborate clock tower in the center of the roof. At each corner of the building are slightly lowered projecting octagonal bays.

Although there are several unusual features, this courthouse is similar to the now gone Lawrence County Courthouse which was also built in 1905. The courthouses are also listed on the National register of Historic Places.

About a year ago, in April 2008, the lawn of the courthouse was newsworthy. The county had established this area as a free speech zone, which prompted people leaving permanent displays there. The county was fine with this until they received many complaints of a statue of the Flying Spagetti Monster, and they announced that all displays had to be taken down. The full story is here.

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