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Stephens County Courthouse

Go to Lightroom Slideshow of Stephens County Courthouse for something different.

go to Breckenridge

County Seat – Breckenridge
Built – 1926
Architect – David Castle
Style – Classical
Materials – Limestone
Date Photographed – 2/19/15

This courthouse exudes money.  The detail, the interior points, the courtroom – all top notch.  In fact, Stephens County was the center of an early 20th century oil boom.  And this courthouse shows it.  All the decor outside is spot on – including the owls, which must be in place to scare off other birds.  Any Federal building would be pleased to have all design put into this courthouse.  Even the doorway from the 1882 courthouse they left standing on the courthouse grounds is impressive. I thought the concept was silly, but really, it is something that reaches back into time.

And then – the interior!!  Wow.  The halls were not forgotten as so try in most courthouses.  The ceilings, the column supports, the floors of polished granite (?) all come together to impress.  But that’s not the piece d’resistance!  It’s the courtroom.

Inside the courtroom, you find color, wood and style everywhere!  The wood is darkish and highly polished.  The ceiling lamps are pure 1920’s.  The color is amplified by the wonderful balcony .  The judges bench and background are all designed to give due notice as to who’s in charge.  I’m not sure, with the possible exception of Colorado County Courthouse, that I’ve seen a more well-appointed courtroom.  But that’s not all.  This courthouse had one more surprise.  We met the deputy county clerk who asked if we wanted to see something special – and special it was!

This courthouse was built with twin courtrooms!!  Both had the same woodwork.  Both had the same coloring.  They were indeed twins.  However, over time, the need for two courtrooms eroded as the county population declined in the 30’s.  Eventually, the 2nd courtroom was abandoned and converted into extra storage and office space.  So, walking through the 2nd courtroom is a strange journey into what can happen to our architectural jewels if not cared for.  Still, looking at the photos, you should be able to see enough of the original courtroom is left to restore it if that ever comes to be.  I know there’s some interest to do just that.


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