Barnstable County Courthouse // 1831

Perched atop a hill in Barnstable Village, the old town center of the historic Cape Cod town, the Barnstable County Courthouse sits proudly as a well-preserved example of the Greek Revival architectural style in a civic building. The building was constructed in 1831 from plans by renowned architect Alexander Parris, who designed the iconic Quincy Market in Boston just years earlier in the same style. Due to its highly visible location along the Old King’s Highway and public function, the courthouse was likely instrumental in popularizing the Greek Revival style on the Cape. The building was constructed of Quincy granite with a portico and fluted Doric columns made of wood fashioned to look like stone (which fooled me from the street). The building has been expanded five times between 1879 and 1971, with each addition made cognizant of the architectural significance of the building. At the front of the building, two bronze statues of Mercy Otis Warren and James Otis, Jr frame the building. The Barnstable Superior Court is located in the building today.

Saint Paul’s Cathedral // 1819

St. Paul’s Cathedral on Tremont Street in Boston is significant as the first church in the Greek Revival style to be erected in New England. Designed by two of the city’s most important Greek Revival architects, Alexander Parris and Solomon Willard, the church built in 1819 has survived largely intact as a fine example of the monumental Greek Revival aesthetic. Built five years before Quincy Market (also designed by Parris), this granite cathedral showcases the simple and bold characteristics of early Greek Revival design. The church is constructed of Quincy granite and Acquia sandstone from Virginia which are visible from the patterned facade. Interestingly, each column is composed of flat stone discs stacked atop one another with the Ionic capitals carved by Willard. Due to high cost overruns, said to be $100,000, more than double the original estimate and paired with the fact that pews sold slowly, the parish was in debt for many years. Due to this, a sculpture planned for the gable pediment, to represent St. Paul before Agrippa, was never completed. In 2013, a Nautilus art piece was designed by Donald Lipski and installed in the pediment (to the dismay of preservationists and others alike), representing a metaphor for a spiritual journey moving outward and growing.

What do you think of the art installation?