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1854–1855, Joseph Willis; 1929 rear portico; 1963 renovated, Frank P. Gates; 1974–1975 gardens, A. DeWitt Day. 203 S. President St.

Jackson’s first city hall of 1847 completed by builder/architect William Gibbons was found structurally unstable in 1853 and demolished. For the new building, city leaders hired Joseph Willis (1808–1881). This Greek Revival City Hall and the Madison County Courthouse (JM1) are his most intact landmarks in Mississippi. He moved to Memphis c. 1858 but returned briefly to repair the Old Capitol (JM12) in 1870.

A tetrastyle Doric portico dominates the seven-bay east facade, and its fluted columns lead the eye up to the pediment and full Doric entablature. This display contrasts with the planar surface of the stuccoed brick walls, where smooth pilasters delineate the bays. Willis crowned the building with a large domed cupola, but structural water damage necessitated its removal in 1874. The building originally contained two high-ceilinged floors, each with a rear mezzanine. Original occupants included not only the city government but also the federal courts and the Masonic and Odd Fellows lodges. In 1929, a portico was added to the rear to overlook a newly landscaped garden, an area previously occupied by the city jail, garage, and gas works. Gates’s 1963 renovation included inserting steel framing and adding two new floors to create four floors of functional space. The garden, dedicated to longtime city engineer Josh Halbert, was updated in 1974 with a formal scheme centered on a rectangular pool on axis with the rear portico cascading down to Congress Street; it is crossed by bridges and framed by an allee of crape myrtle trees. A statue (1972) of Andrew Jackson by local artist Katherine Rhymes Speed Ettl faces west on an oval island at the pool’s center.

In 1974, the fire department abandoned Central Fire Station (1904, P. H. Weathers; 219 S. President) on the block’s northeast corner. Local preservationists fought to save the building, culminating in a 1979 rehabilitation by Jackson architect Robert Parker Adams. The building now houses the Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership.

Facing City Hall is the limestone-clad, Art Deco Hinds County Courthouse (1930; 1988 enlarged) by C. H. Lindsley at 407 E. Pascagoula with stylized fluted pilasters and a Greek key cornice. Statues of Moses and Socrates by sculptors Nellie Walker and Fred M. Torrey of Chicago stand watch on the roof.

Writing Credits

Jennifer V.O. Baughn and Michael W. Fazio with Mary Warren Miller


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Jennifer V.O. Baughn and Michael W. Fazio with Mary Warren Miller, "JACKSON CITY HALL", [Jackson, Mississippi], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Mississippi, Jennifer V. O. Baughn and Michael W. Fazio. With Mary Warren Miller. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2021, 248-249.

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