County Seat – Kountz
Built – 1959
Architect – Dickson, Dickson & Assoc.
Style – Modern
Well, what a dull courthouse!! But wait! There is something to this edifice straight out of the 50’s! The building itself is a quintessential example of the 50’s – with its glass, steel, and turquoise highlights. The hallways are polished marble and ceramic tiles. All very bright and shiny – like the schools and hospitals from that time. There is an impressive entry area with an inlaid county map – but the area appears to be used as a lunch or cafe area. The courtroom is no exception – very 50’s. The ceiling almost looks like a vision of a roof in a space ship.
The county has obviously added onto the 1950’s courthouse – there was no attempt to match the main building. One interesting point in the additions – there is a driveway on the side of one of the additions with a drive-up window. I guess that’s how they collected taxes at one time.
But give the county credit – I thing they realized they were missing out on the courthouse restoration craze going on throughout Texas. What they did was to replicate the clock tower from the 1904 courthouse. They used columns from that courthouse – and then hung the original bell inside. Very impressive and Hardin County gets an A for effort.
While in the courtroom, a gentleman came and kind of indicated he wanted to know what we were doing there. So we engaged him in a conversation and he turned out to be the former Sheriff – Billy Payne. He shared that he was the youngest sheriff elected in Hardin County, and that he served as the youngest President of the Texas Sheriff’s Association. Very interesting gentleman with lots of stories. When I asked him about any possible historical jail in the county – he said that it had been torned town – and volunteered to give us a photo of that 1800’s jail house (see the link above).