Texas County Courthouses – Together

This is a Texas County Courthouse site with a twist – I will be blogging as I update courthouse pages and as we travel to capture new courthouse photos. So feel free to jump in and add comments about the courthouses, about the photos, or about the shared travels.

 

My name is Tom and this is my first attempt at a blog. I’ve chosen a Texas theme so that I can do three things at once: Travel the entire state of Texas; share my experience; and document the tremendous variety & grandeur that make the collection of Texas County Courthouses. I will be sharing photos, my impressions of each courthouse and any other sights or happenings as we travel. We’ve already visited over 90 of the courthouses – and I will be adding these – a few each week. For each courthouse, I will be providing you the courthouse information including when it was built; who the architect was, the style, and my impressions. I will also be adding extras where encountered – like extant courthouses or old jail houses. So join Clem and me as we travel this great state we call home – Texas.

How to view photographs:  Most of the pages were made with NextGen.  They automatically load a slideshow.  You can also click on the top of the slide show where it says “Show Picture List”.  If you do this, you get a display of the thumbs of the photos – and you can click on any single picture and get an enlargement.  You can also, at this point, decide to click on “View with PicLens”.  If you do this – you get a full screen slide show that you move forward and backward yourself.  Three different ways to enjoy the thousands of Texas photos.

Wander around – there’s more to this site than courthouses(see Other).  But if it courthouses you’re after (and why else would you be here?) – then go to the courthouse collection. Think you need some instructions on how to navigate this site?  Then click here for some guidance.


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The South Plains

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Well, we finally took a chunk out of the remaining courthouses.  We were able to take in 21 counties around Lubbock – the High Plains.  That still leaves about 35 courthouses located in the other part  of the Panhandle (around Amarillo) and West to Far West Texas.  This trip was somewhat unusual.  It reminds me of why we wanted to go to all the counties – to see all of Texas.  This area was VERY agriculture-centric, with cotton being the biggest crop.  There is quite a bit of oil activity in the area.  And the biggest share of Texas wine grapes are grown around Lubbock.  And I would certainly be remiss if I didn’t mention the wind farms.  There’s a lot of wind to be found on the plains and the multitude of wind farms take advantage.  The towns and cities were at times, very busy, energetic and active.  In some other instances – there were shells of town – or a few where there really was no town at all (think Dickens).  We were very surprised at all the things to do and see in and around Lubbock (including quite a few places in nearby Slaton).  So come along and take a journey with us through the South Plains of Texas.

Two of the courthouses we visited were in the midst of serious renovation/restoration – they are Swisher and Lynn Counties.  We also revisited Dawson County thinking we hadn’t been there before.  Oh, well – it does have nice mosaics over the doors.  The other courthouses included:  Borden, Garza, Crosby, Dickens, Motely, Hale, Hockley, Castro, Parmer, Bailey, Lamb, Lubbock, Briscoe, Cochran, Gaines, Floyd, Terry and Yoakum.  Overall, this group wasn’t too exciting.  A lot of 1930′ built or renovated.  Among the unusual was a corner judge bench in Dickens County.  And a witness seat in Briscoe that was right next to the jury box – like touching close!

We photographed one retired courthouse – Yoakum.  We also got some old/historic jails in Borden, Briscoe, Dickens, Hale, Hockley, Motley, Parmer, and Swisher Counties.

The towns we included for photographs include these towns that seem to have seen better days – or maybe never had them:  Dickens, Gail, Matador, Silverton, Quitaque, Crosbyton and Morton. Tulia, BrownfieldDimmitt, Plainview, Post, Crosbyton, Floydada, Levelland, Slaton and obviously Lubbock – all seem a little more robust and active.  And finally – the extras.  The other things we were able to work in and take in – the National Ranch Heritage Center, Buddy Holly Museum and Plaza,  theaters of the Plains, the many ‘dead’ theaters we encountered, Murals of the Plains,  and something I didn’t know about – the Ozark Trail Markers.  And while on the road we encountered Bob’s Oil Well Gas Station (a sight to behold) and Trilogy Cellars for the wine lovers.  Slaton offered its’ own treats – the Slaton Bakery, the Harvey House and the Slaton Model RR Station.

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Big Trip coming up (and new map being tried)

Well, I posted in September that there be some additions to add.  And in all reality, we did take in a new courthouse (Terrell County) and revisited Val Verde and Kinney Counties.  We revisited, as we had not gone in and taken any interior shots.  While it’s been awhile, I am behind in posting those and they should be coming soon.

But – I may not have time for awhile, as we will be taking a new trip and try to cut down on the number of counties in the Panhandle not yet photographed.  Also, I’m still working with iMap Builder for maps to locate counties and link to the web pages.  I have a new version – and have pasted the trial here.  The bright yellow are those to be visited soon.

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Maybe some additions soon.

Don’t get too excited, but I have some hopes of adding some new photos soon.  I did drive by Mt Vernon not too long ago, and stopped to take some exteriors shots of this restored courthouse.  When we first visited, the courthouse was in the midst of restoration, so I thought some updates were called for.  Still, it was the weekend and it was closed.  No interior shots except through the glass doors.

We’re taking a short trip out to near West Texas and hope to add one more on this trip.  I don’t want to name – might jinx my hopes.

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Local Courthouses Revisited

I had an engagement in Floresville – so I thought I would revisit a couple of previously visited courthouses.  We visited the Atascosa Courthouse many years ago, but as it was a Sunday – we did not go inside.  Same with the Wilson County Courthouse – and later the courthouse was closed due to structural problems.  Wilson County Courthouse was restored and is now open – so I took that in as well. Both counties lie next to Bexar County.

see Wilson County Courthouse – revisited
See Atascosa County Courthouse – revisited

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West Texas Visited

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Nice quick trip to ‘West’ Texas.  This is the land of rattlesnakes, cattle, oil and windmills for energy as far as the eye can see.  Between Anson and Childress there were towns that are among the smallest in Texas.  In fact, King County is the second least populated county among the 254 Texas Counties.  The courthouses visited on this trip ran the gambit – from ultra modern – Scurry, Taylor, Nolan, Stonewall, Fisher, Kent and King, the art deco/moderne – Knox, Cottle, and Childress, and the somewhat more historic – Mitchell, Haskell, Jones, Foard, Wilbarger and Hardeman.  The courthouses in Jones and Cottle counties are among the most impressive in Texas.  The towns were mostly small and not very active – very typical of many parts of rural Texas.  But Abilene is very large, and Vernon, Childress, Snyder, Sweetwater, Colorado City, Quanah and even Anson – are obviously centers of commerce.  The small towns visited included: Benjamin, Guthrie, Crowell, Paducah, Haskell, Jayton, Aspermont and Roby.  Taking a look at these towns will give you a really good feel for West Texas.  The retired courthouses were visited in KingTaylor and Stonewall counties.  The retired King County Courthouse is now an impressive museum.  It’s often locked – but you can get the key and walk through on your own.  And finding the old Stonewall courthouse is difficult.  Wear your boots – there are rattlesnakes around!  We got pictures of old jails in Cottle, Fisher, Foard, King, Knox, Scurry and Childress Counties.  We were shown through the old King County jail by the County Extension Agent.  It’s stll pretty well intact.  A lot to take in – but with so much of West Texas and the Panhandle to go – we had to dive in somewhere.  Enjoy your visit to West Texas.

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Texoma

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We were able to combine a trip to the Winstar World Casino and Hotel in Oklahoma with a short trip to Wichita Falls, TX.  That allowed us to visit 8 new courthouses.  Some were exciting and few not so much.  We were very pleased with the 2 moderne courthouses that we visited – Jack County and Young County.  Throckmorton County was a classic late 1800’s piece that’s been restored. Clay County Courthouse and Archer County Courthouse are  old – and look it.  But they don’t have the charm of other 1800’s courthouses.  Montague County Courthouse was a wonderful classical revival building of good size in a very small town.  And of course, there are the less ornate or impressive buildings of the 50’s and 60’s – Baylor County and Wichita County.  Actually, Wichita County Courthouse is an old 1800’s at its bones – but was so thoroughly renovated that the old building was lost forever.

On the trip, I did take some photos of town squares (Montague, Henrietta, Jacksboro, Archer City, Throckmorton and Graham).  Then there were the retired jails.  We did miss a few – but do have some historic jails from:  Young, Archer, Clay and Montague.

Hope you enjoy this latest installment.  Only about 90 or so counties left!!  If we could only spend a month in the panhandle.

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San Angelo Area Trip

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Nice short trip to the San Angelo and area.  I’ve chosen the featured photo above quite carefully.  In one photo, you see cotton fields, oil pumps and wind farms.  The photo was taken in southern Glasscock.  But it certainly represents the areas’ economic strengths – its’ past, present and future.

The Tom Green Courthouse is impressive, but photos aren’t allowed inside.  The Courthouses in Runnels and Reagan Counties lacked much in the way of style.  The Glasscock County Courthouse looks interesting, but is currently behind fencing – awaiting restoration.  The Coke County Courthouse is a decent representative of the 50’s modern style.  And the Irion Courthouse is a good example of moderne, from the 30’s.  The gem of the area is the Concho County Courthouse.  A Ruffini original from the 1880’s.  It has been little altered over the years (except for the courtroom).

Our first stop, however, was the retired courthouse of Irion County – in Sherwood.  Nice 1800’s building – well maintained considering it serves no official purpose anymore.  Evocative?  try the ruins of the retired Runnels County Courthouse in the ghost town of Stiles.  As far as local town photos – the only 2 I found interesting enough to photographed were Paint Rock and Ballinger.

In addition, we photographed retired jails in Glasscock and Runnels Counties.  I was later to discover that the Glasscock jail was also the first county courthouse.  We drove through Menard and took photos of what might be an historic courthouse-jail building.  And revisited the Sterling County Courthouse – as we had missed the courtroom the first time.

Enjoy – and take the journey with us.

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Colorado County Courthouse – Revisited

DSC03222_3_4_5_6_tonemappedThis was a great courthouse before Restoration.  Now that it’s been restored – it’s magnificent.  The stucco was removed from the exterior.  The doom was updated – back to its copper finish.  The interior is now all original – with wooden floors, correct colors – all very well done.  Not a lot done in the courtroom – it didn’t need it.  Some color change and wood restoration.  The courtroom is dramatic – two floors in height and crowned by the jewel of all Texas courtrooms – a stunning stained-glass dome.  This courthouse needs to be on everyone’s must-see list.  To see the before and after photos go here:  Exterior Before Restoration, Interior Before Restoration, Colorado County Courthouse – Restored

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Deep East Texas

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It doesn’t get much deeper in East Texas than this little 3 county jaunt.  We were actually on our way to visit mother, and this stop to finish off this part of Texas.  It was a nice set of courthouses.  We started in Sabine County, Then San Augustine, and finished with Shelby.  Clem has already declared the Shelby County Courthouse to be his favorite of all the courthouses we’ve seen to date.  I really enjoyed the San Augustine Courthouse (to the left), with it’s very clean looking classical revival building.  I’ve also posted photos of the town squares in Center, San Augustine and Hemphill, along with retired jails in Sabine, San Augustine and Shelby Counties.,

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