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Atop a long reaching lift, painter Frank Sciarrillo of Volunteer Paint prepares the exterior of the courthouse cupula before painting begins. About a year ago, Coffee County Budget and Finance Committee approved $44,731 for the entire project to eventually include painting the exterior of the building – the doors, windows and cupola.

 

The Coffee County Courthouse was dedicated in December 1872, following arson of the original masonry structure only a year before. The courthouse stands out as one of the last ones still in use to hold court. Another distinctive feature of the courthouse is its large-timber cupola, an element of the Italianate architecture. 

 

Historic detail caps unique architecture  

According to Architecture styles.org, Italianate architecture was Victorian trend popular from 1850-70, characterized by square tower, or campanile, typically a light-framed Italiante porch, tall windows, overhanging eaves, and decorative brackets.

According to the resource, the style was least common in the South and diffused into the U.S. from England as part of the Picturesque (Romantic) Movement which surfaced in the eastern U.S. as a reaction to formal classical ideas and orderly Renaissance planning. By the 1860s, Italianate overshadowed Gothic Revival as America’s most popular romantic style.

 

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