City Directories and History: William Rosborough sold the the State of S.C. property on which the courthouse would be constructed ca. 1852. The property sold for
$3,400. on January 6, 1852. Originally many individuals believed nationally acclaimed architect Robert Mills designed the Chester Courthouse. But in reality, it was Edward Brickell White, from Charleston, S.C. who executed the designs using elements from non other than Robert Mills. Build in the early 1850’s the courthouse was enlarged in 1896 and in 1928, Rock Hill architect, A.D. Gilchrist completed massive updates and renovations to the beautiful structure. In many ways this design is Chester’s most distinguished building.
The Rock Hill Herald reported on Feb. 21, 1884 – “A sever storm in Chester tore the roofs of the bank, and many stores downtown. The Presbyterian Church, the Baptist Church, and the Catawba Oil Mill were damaged along with many houses.”
Alfred D. Gilchrist was born and educated in Manchester, England and came to America in 1900. In 1912 he arrived in Rock Hill and began practicing architecture. Several building can be attributed to him; Ebenezer School – 1921, Stevenson Theater, Oakland Avenue Pres.
Church, and several buildings at Winthrop University. His son, William P. Gilchrist worked as a designer and draftsman with the firm. Following WWII, Gilchrist associated with W. Lewis Cook in the firm Gilchrist and Cook. That firm had buildings including: Woodland Un. Methodist Church, Park Baptist Church and homes and schools. Ms. Bessie L. Garrison, Rock Hill Historical Research Papers #10 – 1952.
Rock Hill architect, Hugh Edward White (1869 – 1939), born in Fort Mill, S.C. – he attended Fort Mill Academy and started his practice in about 1894. Remained in Rock Hill until about 1903 and later returned to work. In the 1890’s he worked in an architectural firm in Atlanta. Between 1903-1918 he was a field supervisor of the Supt. Architect Dept. of the Treasury. For about three years 1918-21, he was employed with Charles Coker Wilson in Columbia or Gastonia, N.C. Architect, Mr. H.E. White of Rock Hill and Gastonia, N.C., remodeled the courthouse at a cost of $7,600. – this work was completed in 1901.
The Rock Hill Herald reported on March 6, 1901, “Architect H.E. White spent Monday in Chester. He is making plans for remodeling of the Chester Courthouse.”
The Rock Hill Journal reported on Oct. 17, 1902 – “H.W. White was designing residences for W.B. Horne and J.F. Horne and houses are being constructed under his supervision.”
Two of Chester’s mid 19th century artisans, Wade Osborne and Ellison Osborne are traditionally credited with having quarried the granite steps and stones foundations for the Courthouse, from the Osborne Quarry on the Broad River. It is likely their brother, Amos Wright Osborne, Jr., also played a part in this transaction.
See enlargeable plat of downtown Chester under the primary image.
Informative links and photographs: Mills Map of Chester County SC, Greek Revival Architecture, National RegisterRobert Mills, A.D. Gilchrist
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