County Seat – Raymondville
Built – 1922
Style – Classical Revival
Architect – ?
Photos taken – June 7, 2011
Visited Willacy County on June 7th, 2011 as part of our courthouse tour of the lower Valley. This was the only courthouse we did on this day.
This was a special courthouse visit. The courthouse – let’s be honest – very little in the way of architectural highlights on the outside. And then, when you went inside it only got worse. Remember the paneling people used in their dens back in the 50’s and 60’s? Well, that’s what they used to ‘update’ this courthouse some years ago. And they used it in the courtroom as well! Truly hideous.
So what made this visit so special? Well, my friends, Clem and Dora, started chatting up a clerk in one of the offices and she volunteered to let us take a look in the old jail. Part of the top floor of the jail was once the county lock up. We saw the cells, solitary, writing on the walls by ex-inmates and the levers they used for hangings. This was something unusual. Also – up on the third floor, they left some of the original wainscot that was used for the courthouse interior. Far superior to the 50’s paneling in the rest of the courthouse. Also – on the second floor – in the men’s room – you can see the trap door they used years ago for the county hangings. All in all, while not stylistic, the courthouse was special.
We also stopped and walked to an area called La Sal….(have to put the name in later). It’s one of 3 salt lakes in Texas. Back in the days of the Spanish and Mexicans, this was an important source of salt. Kind of a neat side trip – but it was so HOT and the walk was probably about a mile each way. This was all the idea of our friend Dora who is staying in the valley with her mother this summer