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Miller County's art deco structure built in 1939

Miller County's art deco structure built in 1939

December 5th, 2018 by Gazette Staff in Texarkana News

Miller County Courthouse was built in 1939 in Texarkana, Ark. It was the second courthouse built within the county.

Photo by Hunt Mercier /Texarkana Gazette.

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Miller County formed in 1829 but was dissolved by James Conway, the first governor, after most of its citizens were found to prefer the governance of Texas over that of Arkansas.

It was re-established in 1874, about the same time Texarkana formed accommodating the convergence of several railroad lines.

The first Miller County Courthouse was built around 1888 in Texarkana, and it served for 50 years before being condemned as unfit.

Document: Miller County Courthouse

courthouse map - Miller County

Architect E.C. Seibert designed the current art deco structure, which was erected in 1939 under the auspices of the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works.

The Miller County Courthouse, 400 Laurel St. in downtown Texarkana, Ark., is a four-story, cut stone and cast concrete masonry courthouse building designed in a restrained version of art deco.This version was quite popular with such federal public works projects during the 1930s.

The main entrance the double-leaf metal door is flanked by two full-height two-lights. The main elevation is symmetrically organized overall, with each of the projecting wings divided into window bays.

The principal elevation faces Laurel Street. This elevation is symmetrically organized overall, with each of the projecting wings divided into four window bays, while the cinder blocks are divided into 11 window bays with a centrally located main entrance.

The interior remains remarkably intact with only a limited amount of alteration. In 1996, rewiring was begun and fluorescent lights and acoustical tiles were installed on several floors. The first three floors are devoted to the offices of the courthouse, and the jail occupies the fourth floor. The basement contains more office space and the holding cells for prisoners, as well as the heating and cooling systems for the building.

Original interior decorations included marble floors, simple molded entry ways, ceiling molding and courtroom furniture.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: The Texarkana Gazette and texarkanagazette.com will present one courthouse a day (14 in all) until Dec. 18. At our website you can vote on the best looking courthouse. You can also find links to the polling site from our Facebook page, and some of you may find links through Breaking News or Updates we send out through email. The system that manages the Challenge will accept one vote per computer or mobile device. The top three vote-getters, in reverse order, will be featured in articles from Dec. 28 to Dec. 30. A week before this announcement three other courthouses will be featured, notable buildings that are either outside this region, or are no longer active county seats. These are not part of the Courthouse Challenge, but we think you will find them interesting. All the courthouses in the Challenge can be seen at the online polling site.)

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