“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Richmond in Madison County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)

James B. McCreary Hall of Justice

James B. McCreary Hall of Justice Marker image. Click for full size.
By Lee Hattabaugh, May 6, 2010
1. James B. McCreary Hall of Justice Marker
James Bennett McCreary

On August 31, 1975, James Bennett McCreary, a native of Madison County, was inaugurated governor of Kentucky. While advocating peace and reconciliation, his campaign had traded on his rank of lieutenant colonel in the Confederate cavalry of John Hunt Morgan. A cautious leader, McCreary's administration was marked by moderate reform. The editor of the Louisville Commercial concluded when his term ended, "As Governors go, he has been a good one."

One might think that after three terms in the Kentucky House (1869-75), one term as governor (1875-79), three terms in the U.S. Congress (1885-97), and one term in the U.S. Senate (1903-09), McCreary would be ready to retire from public life. However, in 1911 at age 73 McCreary embarked on his second race for the governor's office.

McCreary was a skilled politician. He spoke well, remembered people he had met, and knew where the votes were. He used traditional tactics such as a barbecue that featured 3,000 gallons of burgoo and 140 sheep, as well as the use of automobiles and motion pictures, to reach voters. Not insignificantly, his successful campaign, which coincided with the fiftieth anniversary of the Civil War, again emphasized his Confederate ties.

McCreary's administration was marked by some progressive actions
James B. McCreary Hall of Justice Marker image. Click for full size.
By Lee Hattabaugh, May 6, 2010
2. James B. McCreary Hall of Justice Marker
that ushered in the beginning of a new era in Kentucky politics. Among the numerous measures enacted by a strong general assembly was the creation of Kentucky's 120th - and last - county, which was named for the governor.

The Madison Countian resided for years at 527 West Main Street until his death in 1918. McCreary is buried in the Richmond Cemetery with his pet parrot, Polly.

The McCreary Building

While a U.S. congressman, James B. McCreary secured funding to build a federal building in Richmond. Contractor Samuel Rice completed the building in 1897 at a cost of more than $100,000. The U.S. Post Office occupied the first floor and a Federal District Court and other government offices were housed in the remainder of the building.

The McCreary Building is Madison County's only formal example of the Richardsonian Romanesque style of architecture. This uniquely American variation of the Romanesque style, named for architect Henry Hobson Richardson (1838-86), was extremely popular from about 1875-1900, especially for public buildings. The massive stone construction, doors and windows framed by round arches, deep-set windows, and cavernous door openings framed in contrasting stonework, and the single tower exhibited by this building are hallmarks of the Richardsonian Romanesque style. In the 1990s a major addition, which faithfully matched
James B. McCreary marker image. Click for full size.
By Lee Hattabaugh, May 6, 2010
3. James B. McCreary marker
Located on the Madison County Heritage Walk of Fame on the sidewalk in front of the courthouse.
the original exterior, was made to the building.
Erected by City of Richmond, Kentucky.
Location. 37° 44.915′ N, 84° 17.822′ W. Marker is in Richmond, Kentucky, in Madison County. Marker is on Main Street (U.S. 25) west of 3rd Street, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Located in front of the Madison Hall of Justice, two blocks west of the Madison County courthouse. Marker is in this post office area: Richmond KY 40475, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Frances E. Beauchamp / Prohibition Advocate (a few steps from this marker); County Named, 1786 / County Formed (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Samuel Freeman Miller (about 800 feet away); Madison County Courthouse 1862 (approx. 0.2 miles away); Pioneer Monument (approx. 0.2 miles away); Gov. James B. McCleary (approx. 0.2 miles away); Cassius Marcellus Clay (approx. half a mile away); Medal of Honor Winners (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Richmond.
More about this marker. Pictures on the marker include, counterclockwise: (1) James Bennett McCreary, July 8, 1838-October 8, 1918; (2) James McCreary, left, at Churchill Downs, ca. 1912; (3) Federal agents display a confiscated still in front of the Federal Building, ca. 1910; (4) Contractor Samuel Rice, an influential and powerful man, was elected mayor of Richmond in 1909.
Also see . . .
1. James McCreary - Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. (Submitted on July 28, 2011, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.)
2. James B. McCreary - Wikipedia. (Submitted on July 28, 2011, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.)
Categories. Notable BuildingsPolitics
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 25, 2011, by Lee Hattabaugh of Capshaw, Alabama. This page has been viewed 446 times since then and 25 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on July 25, 2011, by Lee Hattabaugh of Capshaw, Alabama. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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