Rutherford County Historic Courthouse


After the third Rutherford County Courthouse was built in 1859, and survived the Civil War, it needed updating. Despite the beautiful appearance of the Courthouse in this postcard, it had, by 1906-1907, been in existence for almost fifty years. A third floor was added to the Courthouse and the roof was changed from hipped to almost flat. [1]

Postcards were made part of what is known as the "City Beautiful" movement. The City Beautiful had its origins in the late 1800s as progressive urban reform movements like clean water, clean streets, decent housing, etc., took hold in cities. By the early twentieth century, however, business people used the ideas of City Beautiful to make their cities more appealing to commercial interests. As historian Alison Isenberg writes "The City Beautiful proved to be something quite different in the hands of politicians, business men, and planners . . ." City Beautiful postcards of downtowns and main streets offered a sometimes unrealistic image of what a city's leaders wanted their city to look like, but not always did.

The Courthouse experienced another narrow escape March 20, 1913. A tornado struck Murfreesboro. The debris from the tornado only damaged the tip railing around the clock. It was highly debatable whether or not the tornado actually hit the Courthouse.

Next: The 1920s - 1940s