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Gentry County Courthouse
Marian M. Ohman
Department of Community Development
Organized: Feb. 14, 1845
Named after: Gen. Richard Gentry
County seat: Albany
The name of the county seat of Gentry County, originally Athens, was changed to Albany in 1857. Isaac Cameron was commissioner of the first courthouse, which dates from 1845. The court order, issued June 7, 1845, called for a hewn-log, two-story building, 24 by 20 feet. There were three upper rooms, a brick chimney and two fireplaces. Two doors and two windows were in the lower story, and one window and one door in each upper room. The courtroom was located in the lower floor with curved bar and judge's bench. The courthouse and lot sold for $275 to Judge Elias Parrot when a new building was anticipated.
The second courthouse in Gentry County was a temple-type building erected between 1853-55 by George H. Mosley, who sub-contracted some of the work. It was a brick building, 60 by 45 feet, two stories with a 12-foot-wide portico on the south. There were four rooms upstairs for a public hall and jury rooms. The courtroom originally was located in the lower story and measured 40 by 45 feet. During remodeling in 1875, the courtroom was moved to the second story (Figure 1). Exterior stairs may have been added at that time. Total appropriations for the building came to about $6,000. The building was destroyed by windstorm on July 13, 1883.
Gentry County Courthouse, 1853-1883. (From: An Illustrated Historical Atlas of Gentry County, Missouri, 1877)
The third and present courthouse, a three-story brick building, dates from 1884-85. Designed by Edmond J. Eckel, one of the northwest Missouri's finest architects, it was built by Rufus K. Allen, St. Joseph, Missouri, who first contracted for the exterior and roofing of the 200-foot-square building for $22,000, and later completed the interior work. The cost was $29,100.
Cornerstone for the building was laid Aug. 24, 1884; the building was accepted June 5, 1885 (Figure 2). Other Missouri courthouses by Eckel's firm include Nodaway, 1881, Atchison, 1882 and DeKalb, 1885.
Gentry County Courthouse, 1884-. Architects: Eckel and Mann (From: postcard, Trenton Boyd collection)
- History of Buchanan County and the City of St. Joseph, compiled and edited by Chris L. Rutt. Chicago: Biographical Publishing Company, 1904.
- History of Gentry and Worth Counties. St. Joseph: National Historical Company, 1882.
- McCammon, R. M. and Mary McCammon Hillman. History of Gentry County. Topeka, Kansas: Historical Publishing Company, 1922.
- An Illustrated Historical Atlas of Gentry County, Missouri. Philadelphia: Edwards Brothers of Missouri, 1877.
- Standard Atlas of Gentry County. Chicago: George A. Ogle and Company, 1914