Greene County Arkansas

Paragould, Arkansas

Centennial Edition Section 4

2-Section 4, Centennial Edition                                                                                                                        Paragould Daily Press, Monday, August 29, 1983


                                                                 Photo courtesy: Bill Hunter                                                   Photo courtesy: Talma Buchanan Hayes

Above and to the right are three shots of the courthouse, all from about the same angle. The one with the wooden fence is thought to be the earliest. No dates are available for the first two, both of which show the old county jail in the background; the third was taken just the other day.


            Greene County


               Since 1888

 Ninety-nine years ago this week, on Sept.1, 1884, Greene County voters went to the polls
and decided to move their county seat from
Gainesville to the new town of Paragould. The
vote was 943 to 737.
   On  Oct.  6,  County  Judge  John  Osteen ordered  the  transfer  of  the  records and all movable effects.
   According to a family history written by the
late  Ora  Yantis,  Sheriff  T. R. Wilcockson
picked her father, W. J.  McDonald, to help
oversee the move. McDonald's teamster, Cub
Drafton, with a couple of prize bays, Bill and
Ball, handled the wagon. The sheriff and Mc-
Donald,  both  heavily  armed,  followed on horseback. At Gainesville, this crew loaded up the safe  that had been purchased by the county in 1877 and returned to Paragould -- without  meeting  the  resistance  they  had feared.
  A temporary courthouse was soon built and
on Aug. 9, 1887, a three-member committee-- Eli S. Bray, A.P. Mack and W.H. Jones --was appointed to draw up plans for a perma-nent, brick one. The contract was let on Oct. 5, 1887 to W. F. Boon and S. R. McGinnis. The $14,700 price tag did not include a clock for the belltower, so residents kicked in an additional  $1,000.  On  April  3, 1888,  the committee reported the completion of its task.
   In 1975, the courthouse was added to the
National Register of Historic Places.

 While this looks like the east face of the courthouse shown in
the top trio, it is actually the west face on which the vault
annex was added in 1918. Telltale signs are the additional
steps at the south door and the center window on the west.
The east face, like the other two, has a center door, but it is
no longer used.



Daily Press photos by: Bruce Moore

   Above, an engraved marker just outside the south door pre-
sents a  synopsis  of the  courthouse's  history. Completed in 1888, the original  building  was remodeled in 1918  when a vault  annex  was  built and the  entire  structure coated with stucco. After the courthouse bell was removed from its tower in 1965, it was given a new home atop a concrete pedestal on the courthouse lawn. According to the bell's inscription it was cast  in 1887  by the  Clinton  H. Meneely  Bell Co. of Troy,  N.Y.  The tower's  four-faced  clock had  stopped some 25 years earlier, at 8:25. The quorum court refused several times to  appropriate  the estimated  $1,500 for repair of the clock and  restoration  of the  deteriorating  steeple. Eventually, the county decided the tower was unsafe and had it dismantled.

From Hospital to City Hall

Transcribed by: PR Massey

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