Kansas City, MO

Historic Jackson County Courthouse in downtown Kansas City, Missouri

CJ Coombs
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Jackson County 16th Circuit Courthouse in Kansas City, Missouri.Photo byKbh3rd, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

In 1934, the Jackson County Courthouse was constructed at 415 East 12th Street in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. Inside are the judicial and administrative offices for the western portion of Jackson County.

The courthouse was designed by Wight & Wight implementing the architectural style of Art Deco. At the time it was built, the presiding judge of Jackson County Court was Harry S. Truman.

In 1926, Harry S. Truman won the election of presiding judge and served for eight years as county commissioner. He would spend time at this courthouse and the eastern courthouse in Independence, Missouri.

This building replaced the previous Kansas City courthouse annex which was at at 5th and Oak Streets. The courthouse was dedicated in 1934. Truman had an office in the new courthouse building for most of his first term as U.S. Senator from 1935 to 1939.

Visit here to see artist, Chris Doyle's, work in 2006 on the second floor's ceiling entitled Vault. Doyle was commissioned by Kansas City Percent for Art. The 15' x 146' digital mural is a permanent installation. Based on photographs of Jackson County Courthouse employees, life-size watercolors were made, then photographed again and printed on vinyl.

White & White

The architecture firm of White & White consisted of Thomas Wight (b. Sept. 17, 1874, d. Oct. 6, 1949) and William Wight (b. Jan. 22, 1882, d. Oct. 29, 1947). This firm designed several buildings considered to be landmarks in both Missouri and Kansas.

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Nelson Art Gallery before remodeling in 2007.Photo byJ.D. Redding, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Thomas and William were born in Halifax, Nova Scotia. They worked for McKim, Mead, and White for a decade. In 1904, Thomas moved to Kansas City to join a firm with Edward T. Wilder. In 1911, William joined the same firm and Wilder retired five years later.

The White brothers achieved their greatest success in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Some of their notable work included the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Kansas City Livestock Exchange, and courthouses in Clay County and Wyandotte County, Kansas.

White & White has other notable projects that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Thomas White died on October 6, 1949, at age 75. William White died on October 29, 1947, at age 65.

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Multi-genre writer and author/publisher with a BA in Eng Journalism/Creative Writing. I worked in law firms for 30+ years and retired early to pursue writing. I was born into the Air Force, so you could say I'm from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri. I love family, research, history, true crime, reading, art, and travel.

Kansas City, MO
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