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.
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.
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
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 King, Taylor 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.
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.
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.
This 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
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.,
Finally got to Kerr County. It was my birthday and this was a close courthouse we’ve not done in the past. Kerr County page is here
The pages and photos have been out there – but I’ve just not gotten around to posting that fact here on the front page. Our trip to Lake Brownwood State Park was quite eventful. The area is full of neat little towns, some interesting courthouses, lots of older jails and yes – cold weather. It got down right chilly while we were staying here (see the winter photos below).
Anyhow – Historic Jails – Mills, Palo Pinto, Shackelford, Callahan, Coleman, Brown and Comanche.
Town Squares – Goldthwaite, Eastland, Palo Pinto, Breckenridge, Albany, Coleman, Baird and Comanche.
Plus – Lake Brownwood State Park and a revisit to Hamilton County which has now been restored.
It’s been over 3 weeks since returning on our Lake Brownwood trip – and I’m just now getting all of the pages updated. I’m continuing a trend of adding links to Light Room slidehows. I believe they’re easier to see and operate – but harder to link. Anyhow – right now I’ve added the following County Courthouses: Callahan, Coleman, Brown, Eastland, Mills, Stephens, Shackelford, Palo Pinto and Commanche. In addition, we revisited Hamilton County Courthouse – as it has been renovated since we first visited there some years ago. All in all a good cross-section of Texas Courthouse architecture. Shackelford is a stellar example of the 1880’s and has been faithfully restored. Eastland and Commanche are really good period pieces dating from the 1920’s and 30’s. I enjoyed Mills county from the early 1900’s and Stephens County Courthouse was a really terrific Classical Revival work. The Stephens Courthouse has a great story in the twin courtrooms. Palo Pinto Courthouse overshadows a tiny little town of the same name. Callahan was nothing too special – and the Coleman Courthouse was the epitomy of 1950’s exuberance – when they totally encased a more historical and more interesting courthouse in what can truthfully be called ‘ugly’. But even that courthouse had some redeeming qualities – namely it was very photogenic against the blue Texas sky.