GSB Vol. 14, NO. 4, Pg. 48. The Dooly County Courthouse at Vienna: The Grand Old Courthouses of Georgia.

Author:Wilber W. Caldwell

Georgia Bar Journal

Volume 14.

GSB Vol. 14, NO. 4, Pg. 48.

The Dooly County Courthouse at Vienna: The Grand Old Courthouses of Georgia

GSB JournalVol. 14, NO. 4December 2008The Dooly County Courthouse at Vienna: The Grand Old Courthouses of GeorgiaWilber W. CaldwellIn Vienna, agitation for a new courthouse commenced just as the rails of The Georgia Southern and Florida Railroad arrived in 1888. Almost straight away county leaders commissioned the noted Atlanta architect, William Parkins to design a symbol for Dooly County's newfound railroad-inspired aspirations.

After his brief partnership with Alexander Bruce and a subsequent association with New York architect, Lorenzo Wheeler, and the notorious New South promoter, Hannibal Kimball, William Parkins resumed architectural practice on his own. Between 1888 and 1892, he designed four of Georgia's most picturesque court buildings: the 1888 Gordon County Courthouse at Calhoun, the 1892 Polk County Courthouse at Cedartown, the 1892 Terrell County Courthouse at Dawson and his exceptional Dooly County Courthouse at Vienna also completed in 1892. It is no coincidence that such fanciful public architecture was created by Parkins immediately following his association with Wheeler and Kimball. Surely William Parkins had been influenced by the charisma of Hannibal Kimball and his compelling New South propaganda. There were few men in Georgia who had been able to resist Kimball's seductive intensity and conviction. Just as surely, Parkins had been deeply influenced by the wild eclectic fantasies of architect, Lorenzo Wheeler, who had come south to join Kimball in 1884 as the designer of Atlanta's fabulous Kimball House II. After his collaboration with Wheeler on the 1886 Randolph County Courthouse at Cuthbert and the 1887 Oglethorpe County Courthouse at Lexington, Parkins created his most overtly fanciful courthouse designs. Here was a modern flamboyant voice for the unfettered aspirations of four Georgia villages that had been seduced by the mythical promises of the New South.

Although the 1960 remodeling of the old 1890 Dooly County Courthouse presents attractive and functional modifications to the old building, it is a long distance from a pure restoration. The glassed-in enclosure of the second story porch now appears massive where originally an airy open-arched balcony...

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