When the original town of Holly Springs was founded in 1836, plans to build a Courthouse were formed almost immediately. Though the Marshall County Courthouse was originally planned as a brick structure, a clapboard two-story structure topped with a cupola and clock tower was finished in 1838. This first Courthouse had a two-story porch on the east side, and another entrance on the south side. The only depiction of this Courthouse was done by Alexander Simplot of Harper’s Weekly, and appeared in the January 10, 1862 issue of the magazine (see picture above).
The original Courthouse survived Van Dorn’s Raid in December 1862, but was burned to the ground by several Union soldiers on August 27, 1864 during the occupation of Holly Springs. In 1865, a delegation from town travelled to Washington, D.C. to unsuccessfully petition Congress to help rebuild the Courthouse. After being rebuffed by the Federal government, the town leaders levied a special tax which raised $25,000 for a new Courthouse.
The new brick Courthouse was designed by local architect Spires Boling, and the contractors were the architectural firm of Willis, Sloan and Trigg. Construction was supervised by John B. Fant and Eli Whitaker. The new Courthouse was completed in 1870. The original Courthouse had a wood fence that surrounded it, but when the brick Courthouse was finished in 1870, a cast iron fence was constructed around the Courthouse. This fence remained until the 1930s, when it was removed and taken to Burton Place, where it still remains today. In 1926, the Courthouse underwent a remodel, resulting in both east and west wings added to the Courthouse.
The Marshall County Courthouse is a three-story brick structure with original Italianate and later Colonial Revival architectural elements. The north and south facades are identical, consisting of columned porticos on the second and third stories supported by a stone arcade on the first floor. The roof cornice is bracketed, and a central cupola has arched ventilators and non-working clocks.