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Temples of Justice: County Courthouses of Nevada

Overview

From Storey County's High Victorian Italianate-styled courthouse to Lander County's former schoolhouse, now a Neo-classical courthouse, Temples of Justice provides an architectural history of the courthouses of Nevada. Nevada has never had a published architectural history, and Temples of Justice helps fill the gap by treating the state's built environment as a series of documents from the past. By looking at the courthouses collectively, it is possible to understand the choices and influences that have affected ...
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Overview

From Storey County's High Victorian Italianate-styled courthouse to Lander County's former schoolhouse, now a Neo-classical courthouse, Temples of Justice provides an architectural history of the courthouses of Nevada. Nevada has never had a published architectural history, and Temples of Justice helps fill the gap by treating the state's built environment as a series of documents from the past. By looking at the courthouses collectively, it is possible to understand the choices and influences that have affected Nevada's communities as they seek to protect an image of themselves and their aspirations through public architecture. The courthouses are important local public facilities, and they provide an excellent opportunity to understand the history of attitudes and tastes in the state. Nevada courthouse construction falls into several periods of prosperity. Early on, the mining industry created instantaneous communities that struggled to create an image of stability and prosperity by building impressive courthouses. Lacking access to professional design, however, they often resorted to homespun approaches to architecture. Later, firmly established communities built courthouses that fit into the national mainstream. Temples of Justice clearly demonstrates the value of using buildings as documents of the past. More research is needed to gain a comprehensive understanding of Nevada through its built environment, and James's examination of its important public architecture provides a cornerstone for future research.
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