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Shelandra Y. Ford
Historical Markers of Shelby County

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Former Criminal Courts Building

Designed by Jones & Furbringer, Architects, this building opened in 1925 as the Criminal Courts Building, housing two divisions of criminal court, a 300-bed county jail, and various offices. The limestone exterior features several design elements of the Renaissance, including massive scrolls at the setback for the upper floors modeled on those at the Church of Santa Maria della Salute in Venice. Interior hallways and central staircase are faced with pink and dark cedar Tennessee marble. Notorious criminals incarcerated here included "Machine Gun" Kelly the F.B.I.'s 1933 "Public Enemy No. 1" and James Earl Ray, convicted assassin of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.