Madison County NC Courthouse

The Madison County Courthouse was built in 1907 and designed by Richard Sharp Smith (head architect for the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC). The two story Neo-Classical Revival brick structure sits in the heart of Marshall with an unobstructed view of the French Broad River. On its lawn are historical markers telling the story of the town’s history. It cost $30,000 to build. The façade is divided into three sections with the central portion being the tetrasytle Corinthian portico. The cupola, a four stage polygonal structure, is one of the most impressive courthouse cupolas in North Carolina. The domical roof, bearing clocks on its alternate faces, is capped by a lantern which serves as a pedestal for a statue of Blind Justice.

The choice of the designer of the courthouse was no accident. In 1903, Richard Sharp Smith built the J. H. White house in Marshall on a terrace overlooking the town. A tobacco businessman, newspaper publisher, postmaster, banker, and clerk of court, James White would later influence the selection of Smith to design this courthouse in 1907. The house ( now operating as an Inn) still remains on the bluff to the right above the courthouse–an imposing presence and reminder of the noted architect’s time spent in Madison County.