Shelby County is named for Isaac Shelby, who was commander at Kings Mountain, First Governor of Kentucky and who negotiated the purchase of the western districts from the Chickasaw Native Americans.
Created: November 24, 1819
Memphis 1819 – present
County Courthouse – Memphis
Location: 140 Adams Avenue / North 2nd Street
Built: 1906 – 1909
Style: Classical Revival
Architect: James Gamble Rogers and H D Hale of Hale & Rogers of Chicago, Illinois
Contractor: Local trades
Description: The building faces south and is a three story blue Bedford limestone, yellow colored brick and concrete structure. The building is located on landscaped grounds in the center of the city. The south front has many columns with recessed porch. The east and west ends project from the main building with a columns on either side of the recessed entrance. The rear off the building has statuary along the cornice below the flat roof line. There is a square center court yard and statuary around the building. The courtrooms are along the long marble halls on the first and second stories. The courtroom used by the Tennessee Supreme Court is located at the southeast corner of the second story. The building was renovated from 1980 to 1992. The architect was Design Associates Inc. and Hnedal & BoBo Grooup Inc. and the contractor was Inman Construction Corporation.
Note: The previous courthouse was housed in the Overton Hotel constructed in 1874. The present courthouse has ambitious sculpture executed by J Massey Rhind and includes the pediment groups, Canon Law, Roman Law, Statutory Law, Civil Law and Criminal Law. Female allegorical figures can be found on the north facade cornice representing Integrity, Courage, Mercy, Temperance, Prudence and Learning. Flanking the main entrances are over life sized seated figures embodying Wisdom, Justice, Liberty, Authority, Peace and Prosperity.
County Criminal Courts – Memphis
Location: 201 Poplar Avenue / North 3rd Street
Built: 1979 – 1981
Architect: Mahan & Shappley Architects, Inc.
Contractor: Gardner & Howe
Description: The building faces south and is a twelve story rectangular structure. The south front has an entrance section with stairs running to a hallway beneath the front plaza. Along the first story are glass windows. The upper windows are horizontal and the roof line is flat. The construction manager was Grinder, Taber, Grinder Inc.
County Administration – Memphis
Location: 160 North Main Street / Poplar Avenue
Built: 1966 – 1968
Architect: Gassner-Nathan-Browne-Hagland & Venable
Contractor: Harmon Construction Company
Description: The building faces west and is a twelve story rectangular concrete and glass structure. The first story has a recessed section with pillars which rise as horizontal dividers between the square windows. The roof line is flat.
County Hall of Records – Memphis
Location: 150 Washington Avenue / North 2nd Street
Built: 1924 – 1925
Architect: Jones & Furbrinder
Contractor: Kaucher Hodges & Company
Description: The building faces south and is a five story stone structure. The south front has a projecting center section with arched entrance on the first story and three narrow vertical windows on the second story. The first and second stories have a parapet along the roof line with the third to fifth stories being recessed. The building served as the Criminal Courts until 1982 and is located on the north side of the courthouse.
N – Tipton County
E – Fayette County
W – Crittenden County, Arkansas
County Criminal Courts
Photos taken 2011 and 2018