Hattiesburg in Forrest County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
Old Federal Building
Old Federal Building
has been listed on the
National Register of Historic Places
U.S. Department of Interior
• • •
The building was remodeled in 1939 to serve the Hattiesburg Division of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. It served this function until 1974 when the present federal building on Main Street was completed. In 1976 this building was conveyed to Forrest County and now houses the county and youth courts.
Placed by Forrest County Board of Supervisors, 1979
J.A.P. Carter, President
David Allen, Lynn Cartlidge
Archie E. Smith, Hix Anderson, Jr.
Forrest County, Mississippi
Board of Supervisors
David Allen, District One
Mike Keene, District Two
Lynn Cartlidge, President, District Three
James Boykins, District Four
Harry Hickman, District Five
Jimmy Havard, Chancery Clerk
Stone D. Barefield, Attorney for the Board
Betty Carlisle, County Administrator
Great Seal of the State of Mississippi
This Building was Paid for
by the Taxpayers of
Forrest County, Mississippi
Erected 1979 by Forest County Board of Supervisors.
Location. 31° 19.55′ N, 89° 17.467′ W. Marker is in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in Forrest County. Marker is at the intersection of West Pine Street (U.S. 11) and Forrest Street on West Pine Street. Touch for map. Markers are located to the left and right of the northwest entrance (Pine Street facade). Marker is at or near this postal address: 200 West Pine Street, Hattiesburg MS 39401, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. William Harris Hardy (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named William Harris Hardy (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Forrest County Confederate Monument (about 500 feet away); Hattiesburg (about 600 feet away); McLeod House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Old Hattiesburg High School Veterans of All Wars Monument (approx. 0.4 miles away); William Carey College (approx. 2.1 miles away); Hub City Lodge No 627 (approx. 2.9 miles away); Dixie School Log Cabin (approx. 7.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hattiesburg.
Also see . . .
1. James Knox Taylor. James Knox Taylor (October 11, 1857 - August 27, 1929) was Supervising Architect of the United States Department of the Treasury from 1897 to 1912. (Submitted on July 24, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
2. Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Hattiesburg is a city in Forrest County, Mississippi, United States. (Submitted on July 24, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
3. United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi (in case citations, S.D. Miss.) is a federal court in the Fifth Circuit with facilities in Gulfport, Hattiesburg, Vicksburg, and Jackson. (Submitted on July 24, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
1. U.S. Courthouse (Old Federal Building)
The U.S. Courthouse in Hattiesburg is a one-story structure with full basement, its granite foundation supporting a superstructure of marble walls and tile roof. The former main entrance on. the Forrest Street (northeast) elevation was converted to the middle window of seven during the 1979 remodeling of the building into a courtk&we. The original use of the opening is still indicated by a raised panel over the lintel and a flight of granite steps flanked by a pair of bronze lamp standards on marble cheek blocks. The northeast facade is further emphasized by a range of eight engaged Doric columns which frame the paired, double-hung windows with hinged transoms and crossettes, and by pilasters which define the blind end bays.
On the Pine Street (northwest) elevation, pilasters and columns are also utilized, the latter, a pair, being in antis and the only existing public entrance being protected by a recessed loggia. The double-leaf door is enriched with crossettes, a bronze grillwork transom, and a stone tablet featuring fully developed cornice, guilloched side panels, and the inscription "United States Court House." The pilasters flanking the
doorway bear upon their capitals two stone beams which divide the ceiling of the loggia into three fields of yellow plaster banded by white wooden
The southwest (original rear) and southeast elevations feature the fenestration forms already noted and pilasters which are placed according to the spacing of the pilasters and columns on the respective corresponding elevations. The southwest wall is marble only on the two outer bays, the inner seven being face with brick. A granite mailing platform protected by a copper metal marquee suspended by rods was originally constructed at the southwest entrance, the door of which was fitted with a wrought iron grille window. During the 1939 remodeling the marquee was removed and the platform area enclosed in brick to provide an extension for the office of the district judge.
The building features an entablature, identical on all four elevations, comprised of marble architrave, wooden frieze pierced by metal grilles, and dentiled cornice, also of wood. The scale of the entablature is matched by a double string course which joins the bases of the columns and pilasters as the entablature does their capitals. Further unity in the design is reflected in the pairs of wooden brackets which continue the alignment of the pilasters and columns up underneath the eaves. The latter project prominently and have paneled soffits. A plain marble ventilating stack with cap and metal louvers rises to a height of approximately eight feet on the southeast slope of the hipped roof.
The original layout of the building, designed for post office requirements, included postmaster and assistant postmaster offices, workrooms, and lobbies in which the customary public services were available (money orders, registry, general delivery, stamps, letter drops). The interior finish produced a decor in the taste of the period, with plaster walls, cornices, and cove ceilings; terra cotta columns; wood and marble wainscoting; bronze metal thresholds; and floors patterned in verd antique, terrazzo, and Tennessee red marble. When the building was remodeled, portions of the original finish were retained (the marble floors and plaster walls and ceilings in the lobby areas, for example), as well as the integrity of certain spaces (the postmaster's and assistant postmaster's offices became the U.S. attorney's and assistant U.S. attorney's offices, with existing finish remaining). The change in the overall interior character of the building was rather complete, however, with the large mail workroom converted to a courtroom and the northeast corridor partitioned into clerk of court offices and witness rooms.
The present U. S. Courthouse in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, was the first federal building constructed in Forrest County. Completed in 1910, the construction date for the edifice coincides with the peak years of Forrest County's lumber industry and bears witness to the Hub City's rapid rise to prominence in southeastern Mississippi. James Knox Taylor was the supervising architect for the building, which originally served as a U.S. post office -- a function it continued to have until 1933 when the present post office building was constructed.
The property remained under the jurisdiction of the General Services Administration after the removal of the post office, and in 1939 the structure was altered to provide courtroom facilities for the U.S. District Court of the newly created Southern District of Mississippi. In the interim, the building accommodated the offices of various federal agencies in the area, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Treasury Department's alcohol control division. The offices of the Clerk of the U.S. District Court were also housed in the building, after the creation of the Southern District in 1936.
The federal district court began sitting in the old post office building immediately upon completion of the 1939 alterations and continues to do so today, though on an intermittent basis. The current federal judge, Walter L. Nixon, holds the distinction of being the youngest man ever appointed to a federal district judgeship.
Obsolete as a U.S. courthouse, the future of the structure is as yet undetermined. Upon the completion of Hattiesburg's new federal building, the U.S. District Court and certain federal offices will be moved there. The feasibility of housing county offices in the old federal building is being studied at present and definitive statements concerning future usage are impending. Well-built and still structurally sound,
the old courthouse is a valuable component in the immediate townscape, its virtually unchanged exterior providing Neoclassical Revival prelude for several striking Modernistic neighbors, such as the new post office and a motion picture theater. Although its original interior has already been altered once and
a second alteration is planned, such change is viewed as helping to assure the future of a building which is stylistically unique in the city. As a visual urban asset and an increasingly rare statement of governmental design and building practive in a given
era, it merits consideration for continued existence.
— Submitted July 24, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.
Categories. • Notable Buildings •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 24, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 790 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on July 24, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 5. submitted on February 3, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.