J. W. Golucke (1857-1907)
J. W. Golucke
was Georgia's most prolific architect of county courthouses, building twenty-seven (two are attributed) in Georgia, as well
as four in Alabama. Almost all were so substantially constructed and such noble additions to their towns that eighteen of
the Georgia court buildings remain in use, and three others are still standing.
James Wingfield Golucke was born in June 1857, in either Taliaferro County or Wilkes County, to Leonora S. Wingfield and Edmund Golucke, a German cabinetmaker. In 1878 he married Amulette A. Darracott, and in 1891
he began practicing in Atlanta. A self-taught architect, Golucke practiced with G. W. Stewart from 1891 to 1900, and as J. W. Golucke and Company from 1900
With the exception of his stone DeKalb County Courthouse in Decatur, Golucke designed his Georgia
courthouses in brick, utilizing a Romanesque style for about half of them and a monumental classical style for the others.
This monumentality reflects the architect's willingness to exaggerate classical elements and to manipulate proportions, resulting
in an expressive use of the classical language. Although neither is a documented source of motifs or inspiration for Golucke,
British architects Nicholas Hawksmoor, of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, and Edwin Landseer Lutyens,
of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, are in some ways parallel masters to him, in that they too pushed and
pulled at the vocabularies within which they worked.
Faced with the task of creating, within a dozen years, designs for more than two dozen structures of the same building type,
Golucke became a master at monumental architecture. He heightened, then broadened, domes. He articulated entablatures and
ornamental trim, sculpted architectural masses, and juxtaposed profile and volumetric void in order to compose a dramatic
architecture that breathes a heady vivacity. His distortions aggrandized and empowered his court buildings, which, prominently
sited on central squares of small Georgia towns, became symbols of the multiple governmental roles so central to small-town
most ambitious courthouse was built in Newnan (Coweta County) in 1904, at a cost of $56,998; it displays a colossal pride and verticality with which portico, building mass, and clock
dome virtually stand "at attention." The Putnam County Courthouse (1905) in Eatonton is also neoclassical with noble portico, broad dome (again with clocks), and strong masonry accents juxtaposed against brick
walls; elaborate lintels over second-floor windows provide noteworthy ornamental interest. Although details vary from project
to project, Golucke's manipulations of light and shadow accenting the sculpted masses of his buildings are sometimes on the
edge of the baroque style, or may be considered mannerist in their noncanonical play. At the beginning of the twentieth century,
Golucke brought expressions of an Edwardian sophistication and cosmopolitan "style" to the heart of rural southern communities.
Golucke projects include the Romanesque courthouse of Henry County (1897) in McDonough (his earliest extant court building in the style) and the nearby Locust Grove Institute, whose academic building, adapted
to government use, continues to serve the community. Golucke designed county jails for Rockdale (1897), Macon (1899), Twiggs (1902), Pickens (1906), and Whitfield counties (in Conyers, Oglethorpe, Jeffersonville, Jasper, and Dalton, respectively). He has also been credited with two churches in Cartersville, the First Baptist Church (1904-6) and the Sam Jones Memorial United Methodist Church (1906), both Romanesque revival. The
recently rehabilitated Fitzpatrick Hotel (1898), facing the square in Washington (Wilkes County) is said to be by Golucke and Stewart, and the James T. Anderson Sr. House (1900-1901) in Marietta (Cobb County) is one of the few known houses designed by the architect.
Golucke died on October 26, 1907, in Newton, where he was imprisoned on charges of misappropriating funds for the construction of a courthouse in Baker County.
Wilbur W. Caldwell, The Courthouse and the Depot: The Architecture of Hope in an Age of Despair: A Narrative Guide to Railroad Expansion and Its
Impact on Public Architecture in Georgia, 1833-1910 (Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 2001).
Robert M. Craig, Georgia Institute of Technology