Barry County Courthouse Complex, photo taken 1981
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Barry County Courthouse
220 West State Street, SE corner of Broadway, Hastings - Barry County
Other Names Barry County Courthouse/Early Hastings
Property Type courthouse
Style Late Victorian
Architect/Builder ALBERT E. FRENCH
Narrative Description The Barry County Courthouse is a three-story, rectangular structure with a complex system of hip roofs crowned by a square central tower with a pyramid-shaped roof. The structure's Eclectic exterior is a combination of the solid but unpretentious, red-brick look of the English Queen Anne style of the late nineteenth-century with ponderous, but delicately carved Richardsonian Romanesque masonry. Of the four arched entrance portals, the most elaborately detailed is that which surrounds the main north entrance. Its carved work includes stubby Romanesque columns flanking the portal opening, a cable-molding band springing from the columns, and the inscription "Barry County" and the date of construction carved above the arch. The foundation is of rock-faced, coursed-ashlar stone. The structure is located on a courthouse square with the old jail and sheriff's residence, a two-and-a-half-story, red brick, Queen Anne structure, in the rear of the court building.
Statement of Significance The Barry County Courthouse and former jail/sheriff's residence are not only significant as notable examples of late nineteenth-century courthouse architecture in Michigan, but also integral to Hastings' development specifically as the county seat of Barry County. The first courthouse in Hastings was constructed in 1842 by the county government on land donated by the Hastings Company. The Company purchased the present location of Hastings in 1836 and developed the site which had been previously selected to be the county seat, reserving the courthouse square for county use in the original plat. The present Barry courthouse, constructed between 1892 and 1894 on the original courthouse square, appears to be the only Michigan courthouse designed by Detroit architect Albert E. French.
Marker Name Early Hastings
Marker Text EARLY HASTINGS Barry County, organized in 1839, was named after U.S. Postmaster General William Barry. Hastings, the county seat, was platted in 1836 and chartered as a village in 1855. The present courthouse was completed in 1892. A newspaper was published here in 1851, and in 1869 the first railroad reached town. Dr. William Upjohn, founder of the pharmaceutical firm that bears his name, established his practice here after the civil war and perfected a process for the commercial manufacture of the friable pill. Judge Ella C. Eggleston, one of the first women probate judges in the state, began her term of office here in 1919.
Period of Significance 1866-1900
Significant Date(s) 1892-1893
Registry Type(s) 04/23/1969 Marker erected
08/03/1981 National Register listed
02/28/1969 State Register listed
Site ID# P22527