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Shelandra Y. Ford
Historical Markers of Shelby County

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Shelby County Courthouse

Designed by Architect James Gamble Rogers and dedicated on January 1, 1910, the Shelby County Courthouse is the largest and most ornate in Tennessee. Quarterly Court Chairman James Hill Barrett led the movement for an imposing structure with modern amenities. Upon approval of the project and issuance of $1,000,000 in bonds (later supplemented by an additional $500,000), he appointed N.C. Perkins to head the construction committee. Until 1966 this neo-classical building of blue Bedford limestone housed the executive and (Continued on other side) legislative chambers of Memphis and Shelby County Government, as well as state and local courts. Beginning in 1984 and utilizing taxes paid only by litigants, County Commissioner Charles Perkins directed an extensive, 8-year renovation that resulted in refurbished courtrooms and offices for Circuit, Probate, and Chancery Courts and the Civil Division of General Sessions Court. Many fine details were preserved and augmented, including mahogany doors and paneling, brass door knobs embossed with the County seal, and walls, pilasters, and flooring comprised of seven varieties of marble.