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Chatham County Courthouse Annex (Chatham County Courthouse)

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1889, William G. Preston; 1954–1990 interior renovations. 124 Bull St.

The third county courthouse on the site, replacing a Greek Revival county courthouse designed by Providence architects Russell Warren and James C. Bucklin in 1832, this is Preston’s boldest Savannah building. Drawing on elements of Richardsonian Romanesque (particularly the large entrance arch) and using the varied massing of Queen Anne and foliate ornament typical of the 1880s, it reflects the eclectic nature of design of the time. Yet the use of yellow brick instead of the more common red and the avoidance of polychromatic effects marked a striking departure from prevailing trends. The corner tower best exhibits Preston’s creativity and confidence. Its corner placement eschews the formal symmetry one would expect of a courthouse and makes instead an urbanistic gesture to the center of the ward, while its tapered form, deeply penetrating roofs, and stylized clock anticipate design trends of a decade later in Europe, especially the Vienna Secession and Art Nouveau. The installation of a large air conditioner compressor has marred the tower.

Writing Credits

Robin B. Williams with David Gobel, Patrick Haughey, Daves Rossell, and Karl Schuler


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Robin B. Williams with David Gobel, Patrick Haughey, Daves Rossell, and Karl Schuler, "Chatham County Courthouse Annex (Chatham County Courthouse)", [Savannah, Georgia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Savannah, Robin B. Williams. With David Gobel, Patrick Haughey, Daves Rossell, and Karl Schuler. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2016, 54-54.

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