Albany, MO

Architect Edmund Jacques Eckel's firm designed the Gentry County Courthouse in 1884

CJ Coombs
Gentry County Courthouse, Albany, Missouri.Photo byAmericasroof, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

France-born artistic talent is seen in northwestern Missouri.

In 1980, the Gentry County Courthouse in Albany, Missouri was added to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). Albany (originally named Athens) is also the county seat. It's another stunning and historical courthouse. The architectural firm that designed the courthouse was Eckel & Mann which designed other public buildings in northwest Missouri. The architectural design is listed as High Victorian or Ruskinian Gothic.

Other Missouri courthouses by Eckel's firm include Nodaway, 1881, Atchison, 1882 and DeKalb, 1885. (Source.)

The courthouse was contracted and built in 1884-1885 by Rufus K. Allen from St. Joseph Missouri. Allen also constructed the Union Railroad Station in St. Joseph and the courthouse in Maryville, Missouri. He also worked on the interior of the Gentry County Courthouse.

Gentry County was established in 1841. The county was named after Militia Major Gen. Richard Gentry. Early pioneers arriving in this area were from Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee. Albany, like other towns, grew once the railroads came to town.

The courthouse is located at the public square and is over 135 years old. This was the third courthouse to be built. The first was made of logs, and the second one was destroyed by a windstorm. The south facade of the current courthouse contains the main entrance also below the tower. Another entrance is located on the north facade. There are four stories to the tall tower with clocks on the fourth story.

Two war memorials are on the courthouse lawn: a large elaborately landscaped fountain and a WWI doughboy statue with fixed bayonet. (Source.)

Buildings that stored county records prior to the current courthouse construction being completed were burned in March 1885. The records were also destroyed in the fire.

Architect Edmund Jacques Eckel (1845-1934)

Eckel was originally from France. He graduated from École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In 1869, Eckel was in St. Joseph, Missouri. He was with the firm of Stigers and Boettner making partner in 1872. The senior partner of that firm was Lewis Stigers who designed the Patee House in St. Joseph, which is another historic building on the NRHP.

He partnered with Frederick R. Mann from 1880 to 1892. In 1910, after practicing independently, Eckel established the firm of Eckel & Aldrich, with his son, George R. Eckel, and Will S. Aldrich.

Eckel had a great career. Eckel was a member of the Western Association of Architects from 1885 to 1889 at which time this organization merged with the American Institute of Architects (A.I.A.), and he was made a fellow.

John Stuart Twist

A notable person from Albany, Missouri was John Twist (b. July 14, 1898, d. Feb. 11, 1976). He had a career as a screenwriter lasting for four decades beginning with the silent film era.

A specialist in B-westerns and action subjects, he spent most of his career at RKO (1933-47) and Warner Brothers (1949-59). Occasionally given A-grade assignments (Band of Angels (1957), The FBI Story (1959) etc.). (Source.)

Thanks for reading.

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Multi-genre writer and indie author with a BA in Eng Journalism & Creative Writing. My working career has been in law firms. Thinker, giver, and lover of life and retired early to be a writer. Born into Air Force service life, life has taken me to Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri. I love family, art, reading, history, true crime, travel, and research.

Kansas City, MO

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