County Seat – Clarksville
Built – 1884
Architect – William Wilson
Style – mixture of Second Empire & Renaissance Revival
Date Photographed – 12/9/12
Really, East Texas is a very historic area when it comes to the development of Texas as an arm of the U.S. Many immigrants from Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia, etc. came through and settled in East Texas. Jefferson is probably the most complete historical town in the entire State. That being said, the courthouses often disappoint – but not Red River! What a beautiful courthouse from the 1880’s. It has been restored to it’s 1884 time period – which means it may not be grand – but it evokes – from the wide pine floors to the lamps throughout. There is a ‘addition’ which is actually the records vault from the 1852 courthouse!. In fact – to get to the courtroom, you have to go the building that once was the court vault.
The courtroom was very interesting – and I would have loved to take photos to share – but there was a trial going on at the time – and I felt it would be unseemly (if not unethical) to take pictures in that situation. I did take a few sans faces – Notice the large ribbon quote that sits over the judge’s bench – “Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness.” How great is that? There is also a photo of the ceiling and high circular windows – very nice.
Outside, this courthouse had it all. Great Second Empire tower & clock. Wonderful external beams on the corner. Really, this was a lovely courthouse and should be included on your tour of the best of Texas Courthouses. Is it top 10? I don’t know – but it is one to be included in most itineraries.