Abbeville in Abbeville County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
Abbeville County Courthouse (1908)
1st Courthouse - wooden frame building, pulled down in 1825.
2nd Courthouse (c. 1825) - two-story brick building demolished after discovery of workmen's fraud (kaolin used instead of lime in mortar).
3rd Courthouse (c. 1829) designed by Robert Mills during his residency in Abbeville - some years later one corner found to be sinking & deemed unsafe because of cracks in wall, replaced by
4th Courthouse in 1853 - destroyed by fire in 1872.
5th Courthouse (c. 1870's) replaced by present structure in 1908.
Erected by Abbeville County Historic Society.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Architecture. In addition, South Carolina, Abbeville County Historical Society/Commission, and the South Carolina, Abbeville Historical Sites Tour series lists. A significant historical year for this entry is 1908.
Location. 34° 10.65′ N, 82° 22.7′ W. Marker is in Abbeville, South Carolina, in Abbeville County. Marker is on Court Square (State Highway 28) south of Washington Street (State Highway 203), on the right when traveling north. Marker is located near the front entrance to the courthouse, adjacent to a memorial to Major Thomas D. Howie. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 102 Court Square, Abbeville SC 29620, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Lynching of Anthony Crawford / Racial Violence in South Carolina (here, next to this marker); Abbeville Opera House (1908) (a few steps from this marker); Belmont Inn (1903) (a few steps from this marker); Abbeville County Veterans Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Operation Desert Shield / Storm Monument (within shouting distance of this marker); The Law Offices of John C. Calhoun (within shouting distance of this marker); Humane Society Alliance Fountain (1912) (within Abbeville Square (within shouting distance of this marker); "Big Bob" (within shouting distance of this marker); Abbeville County Confederate Monument (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Abbeville.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Courthouses in South Carolina designed by William Augustus Edwards
Also see . . .
1. Abbeville County Courthouse. Constructed in 1908 to replace an earlier courthouse destroyed by fire, the Abbeville County Courthouse is one of six existing courthouses in South Carolina designed by Darlington native William Augustus Edwards of the Atlanta firm of Edwards and Walter. (Submitted on December 30, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
2. Abbeville County Courthouse. The Abbeville County Courthouse, built in 1908, is an historic courthouse located on Court Square in the city of Abbeville in Abbeville County, South Carolina. (Submitted on December 30, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
3. Beaux-Arts architecture. Beaux Arts architecture denotes the academic neoclassical architectural style (Submitted on December 30, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
4. Robert Mills. Robert Mills (August 12, 1781 – March 3, 1855) is sometimes called the first native born American to become a professional architect, though Charles Bulfinch perhaps has a clearer claim to this honor. (Submitted on September 2, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
5. William Augustus Edwards. William Augustus Edwards, also known as William A. Edwards, (December 8, 1866-March 30, 1939) was an Atlanta-based American architect renowned for the educational buildings, courthouses and other public and private buildings that he designed in Florida, Georgia and his native South Carolina. (Submitted on December 30, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
6. South Carolina Dispensary. The South Carolina Dispensary system was a state-run monopoly on liquor sales in the United States state of South Carolina which operated from 1893 to 1907 statewide and until 1916 in some counties. (Submitted on November 21, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
7. Abbeville County, South Carolina. Abbeville County is 508 square miles and encompasses the natural resources of Calhoun Falls State Park and Marina, Richard Russell Dam, and Sumter National Forest. (Submitted on November 21, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
1. Abbeville County Courthouse - National Register Nomination Form
Abbeville County Courthouse was built in 1908, to replace an earlier courthouse destroyed by fire. William Augustus Edwards, of the Atlanta firm of Edwards and Walter, was the architect and Frederic Minshall of Abbeville was the contractor.
The courthouse is a monumental two-story brick building, located on the public square of Abbeville. The facade is characterized by a projecting entrance pavilion with a colossal Ionic portico in antis,of stone construction. The portico has two pair of unfluted stone columns, with Scamozzi capitals, which support a full entablature, composed of an architrave consisting of three fascias; a plain frieze; and a cornice composed of a bead-and-reel astragal, a cyma recta with leaf-and-tongue carving, a dentil course, a bead-and-reel astragal, an egg-and-dart ovolo, a soffit and corona, a cyma reversa, a fillet, and a crowning cyma recta. This
The facade beneath the portico is of brick, laid in American Flemish bond, with raked joints. A wooden arch encompasses both levels of the central bay of the facade; the central entrance on the first floor has new glass doors, while the casement windows of the second story are original. The single bays flanking the entrance pavilion have similar arches encompassing the casement windows of the first and second stories. A broad brick attic story rises above the entablature; this attic story bears a stone course inscribed "ABBEVILLE COUNTY COURT HOUSE."
The left side elevation has a central, recessed, three-bay section with a flanking single bay pavilion towards the front and a three-bay pavilion towards the rear. The sloping lot allows for two full basement levels at the rear of the building. The facade entablature in full is carried around the foremost pavilion; only the cornice is carried around the rest of the side elevation. The broad arched windows of the second story of the side elevation mark the courtroom. The lesser windows of the side elevation have flat brick arches with stone key and terminal voussoirs. This fenestration is carried out over the rear elevation, which, owing to the sloping site, and the full expression of the attic story, has five full stories.
The Abbeville County Courthouse has a longitudinal hall, defining its main axis; the county offices are located on either side of this hall. A stair is located at either end of the hall. The front stair has paneled newel posts and a sawn balustrade. A dentil cornice enriches the hallway. The courtroom occupies most of the second story. The three arched windows of the left side elevation are reflected in three blind arches on the right side. Roman Doric pilasters alternate with the arches. A heavy tabernacle frame behind the judge's seat features three stained glass windows; this frame is flanked by pedimented doorways leading from the judge's chambers. The pilasters carry a dentil cornice and the main roof beams; the ceiling itself is acoustical tile. The audience seats are of bent plywood on metal frames.
The courthouse was renovated in 1964 by Lyles, Bissett, Carlisle, and Wolff of Columbia.
— Submitted November 8, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.
2. National Register of Historic Places:
Abbeville County Courthouse ** (added 1981 - Building - #81000706)
Also known as See Also: Abbeville Historic District; Abbeville Historic Dist Court Sq., Abbeville
Historic Significance: Event, Architecture/Engineering
Architect, builder, or engineer: Minshall, Frederic; Edwards, William Augustus
Architectural Style: No Style Listed
Area of Significance: Architecture, Politics/Government
Period of Significance: 1900-1924
Owner: Local Gov't
Historic Function: Government
Historic Sub-function: Courthouse
Current Function: Government
Current Sub-function: Courthouse
— Submitted January 13, 2011.
3. The Five Abbeville Courthouses
...I will now speak of the public buildings of the place, and first of the Court House. I know of no other person, Elijah Wilson excepted, who can say as I now do, that I have seen five court houses. The first one was a wooden frame building standing a little higher up the public square than the subsequent ones. Of this house, I don't recollect much but a few things are fixed in my memory. I recollect that during a summer there was a school kept by a schoolmarm Maria Neddiman.
The second court house was built of brick and was upon the whole a pretty good court house. It would have lasted many years no doubt had the trustees who's superintendence of its construction not been cheated by the contractor. These trustees were men of the place now skilled in architectural knowledge and themselves drafted the plan. When the house had reached the second story window, it became known to them that the workmen instead of using lime mortar according to the contract was using kaolin of which there were several beds in the neighborhood and this substance so nearly resembled line in appearance that the trustees had not detected the fraud played upon them. When they did, they had the wall pulled down, but unfortunately did not go low enough. For after it was built up again and stood for years, the walls bulged out because [they] were too weak to sustain the superstructure and threatened disaster. This rendered it necessary to build another.
The third court house was planned by Robert Mills, an architect of skill and he was then living in abbeville, he superintended its erection. C. Humphries was the contractor.
The fifth court house thus rendered necessary was erected I believe on the same foundation as the fourth and is still in use . Of these last two I cannot speak with satisfaction as to the details which have escaped my recollection, why I cannot say as I have resided here all the time. I know that neither of them displayed any architectural beauty and that the last serves its purpose pretty well.
(Source: Old Abbeville: Scenes of the Past of a Town Where Old Times are not Forgotten by Lowry
— Submitted October 14, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.
4. Courthouses in South Carolina Designed by William Augustus Edwards
William A. Edwards was born 8 December 1866 in Darlington, South Carolina. He was educated at St. David's Academy, Richmond College, and the University of South Carolina. After graduation in 1885 he moved to Virginia where he eventually formed a partnership with another Darlington County native, Charles Coker Wilson. The firm moved from Roanoke, Virginia, to Columbia, South Carolina in 1895. The partnership continued until ca. 1902; however, no buildings designed by the firm have as yet been identified.
Around 1902, Edwards established a firm with Frank C. Walter, a relationship which lasted about six years. The abbeville County Courthouse about this same time. Whether Edwards relocated to Atlanta before or after the dissolution of Edwards and Walter is uncertain, but it is known that he set up a private practice there in 1908. The Dillon County Courthouse, perhaps the finest building in this group, and the Calhoun Courthouses were designed by Edwards alone.
Edwards became a member of the Atlanta chapter of the American Institute of Architects in 1913 and
Courthouses designed by Edwards, alone or in partnership, in South Carolina:
In addition to these courthouses, the following represent his work in other areas:
William A. Edwards remained an active architect even in the last years of his life. As late as 1938 he designed the Teachers' College at Georgia State College, and his firm had completed the architectural planning for a Public Works Administration housing project in Atlanta at the time of his death at the age of seventy-two in March 1939. (Source: National Register Multiple Properties Nomination Form, 1981)
— Submitted December 27, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.
Credits. This page was last revised on February 3, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 30, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 4,748 times since then and 146 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on December 30, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 5, 6. submitted on November 8, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 7, 8. submitted on September 10, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 9, 10. submitted on April 20, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 11. submitted on November 21, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.