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James Riely Gordon: His Courthouses and Other Public Architecture Hardcover – October 20, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Texas Tech University Press; 1 edition (October 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0896726916
  • ISBN-13: 978-0896726918
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.2 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,937,630 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Chris Meister took on the challenge of chronicling James Riely Gordon’s career in 1994 while living in Houston. A writer and graphic designer now living in Royal Oak, Michigan, his research has taken him to more than fifty communities in twelve states with connections to Gordon’s work.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Capitolshots Photography on February 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
As a professional architectural photographer who specializes in state capitols and county courthouses, I have collected a number of books within this niche. Meister's book easily belongs at the top of the list. He provides a long-overdue study of perhaps the nation's most important courthouse architect. Gordon's career spanned several decades and most of the United States, and Meister takes us along every step of the way. I consider myself better versed in courthouse architectural history than most, yet I stumbled upon many gems within the book of which I was previously unaware, including Gordon's stunning yet unfulfilled proposal for a courthouse in New York City. I highly recommend this book to any courthouse enthusiast as well as to anyone interest in turn-of-the-century architecture, especially those seeking a Texas-centric view.
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Any lover of courthouse architecture can gorge on it here, getting to know the remarkable career of James Riely Gordon, the master builder of Texas courthouses. Focusing on public buildings (and leaving houses and commercial structures for another day), the author traces the architect's steps from grand courthouses in San Antonio, to small cities and town squares across Texas, into Mississippi, and finally to the Northeastern states after Gordon moved to NYC.

The acclaimed Texas State Building at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, the Arizona Territorial Capitol, and the Vicksburg City Hall are also covered.

For armchair historians and academics, you get 20 pages of footnotes and 5 pages of bibliography in this first serious professional biography of one of the greatest architects to come out of Texas.

For the casual reader, you can enjoy well over 100 black & white photographs and illustrations, and a special section of almost 50 color pictures that allow this to serve as a suitable-for-gifting, coffee-table book. But start to thumb thru looking at pictures and you'll get hooked! It's very nicely organized, so if you want to read only the chapter that includes your hometown favorite building, you can do that. Each chapter tells a story of its own. More likely you'll be swept along, reading just a little more and more until you know you can't stop.

For even serious readers, descriptions like "fictile exterior program ... voisseurs ... corbelling ... tourelles ... a frieze filling the spandrels" may challenge and expand your vocabulary. But not to worry. Skip any words or phrases you don't quite grasp and the exciting story rushes on without them.
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