You are here


-A A +A
1903, J. Riely Gordon; 1973 addition, Lynton B. Cooper. Bounded by Main and Royal Oak sts., and Commercial and Boston rows

This two-story tan brick courthouse is the third on the site. Texas architect Gordon’s neoclassical revival design echoes his earlier Copiah County Courthouse (SC3) with an elliptical courtroom reflected on the exterior by a curved wall and its rotunda lit by a copper-domed clock tower. An iron picket fence bounds the square, which is shaded by ancient live oaks, most spectacularly the Jefferson Davis Oak, believed to have been a seedling in the eighteenth century. Its burly twisting limbs are covered in ferns and extend to the ground.

Woodville’s 1811 grid plan incorporates Mississippi’s earliest courthouse square. An 1886 map depicts the half block north of Main Street as a Public Square occupied by a market and a fire company, which were replaced by the Town Hall (1903; 510 Main) and a 1904 water tower. The Federal-style former Bank of Mississippi (1819; 119 Royal Oak), built by Natchez masons Williams and Lane, is the square’s oldest building. The Woodville Civic Club now owns the building, and its interior retains its vault and Federal mantels. Woodville and Port Gibson had the first banks in Mississippi outside Natchez.

Early commercial buildings lining Commercial Row include the one-story side-gabled building (c. 1830) at number 543–557. Its rhythm of windows and doors indicates separate spaces that in 1886 contained a telegraph office, barber, law office, post office, and dry goods store. The two-story buildings at 503 and 513 Commercial maintain the side-gabled form and wood construction of antebellum buildings, but historic maps indicate they date to about 1890.

Across the corner at Boston Row is Woodville’s most imposing commercial building, the former West Feliciana Railroad’s office and banking house, built in 1834. The two-story stuccoed brick Greek Revival building is fronted by six giant-order Tuscan columns, each two feet in diameter, and a second-floor balcony with an iron Roman-lattice railing. The railroad’s offices and bank occupied the first floor, while the president and his family lived upstairs. Later the building housed regional offices of the Illinois Central Railroad and the post office. In 1973 the Woodville Civic Club acquired and restored the building (including the ashlar-scored stucco), which became home to the Wilkinson County Museum in 1991.

Lining the square’s east and west sides, larger two-story twentieth-century buildings create a feeling of walled enclosure absent in the nineteenth century. These buildings include the former Woodville Hotel (c. 1905; 127–149 Boston), remodeled as apartments, the Odd Fellows Building (1931; 613 Main), and the Masonic Building (1933; 610–626 Main). The diminutive former Polk’s Meat Market at 109 Boston is a rare example of an African American business operating on a public square during the Jim Crow era. The two-room frame building (c. 1900) first housed Jim Johnson’s Meat Market and passed to Lawrence Polk in 1954. Johnson was one of only two black men allowed to vote in local elections; he and his family also owned a seven-hundred-acre plantation and antebellum house named Sugar Hill.

Writing Credits

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


What's Nearby


Jennifer V.O. Baughn and Michael W. Fazio with Mary Warren Miller, "WILKINSON COUNTY COURTHOUSE AND COURTHOUSE SQUARE", [Woodville, 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, 20-21.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.