024 of 254: Frio County Courthouse, Pearsall, Texas. County Population: 17,217
"Frio County, in the Winter Garden Region of Southwest Texas, shares its eastern border with Atascosa County, its southern border with La Salle County, its western border with Zavala County, and its northern border with Medina County. The county is named after the Frio River, which flows northwest to southeast through the county. Elevations average 600 feet above sea level and range from 400 feet in far south central Frio County to 800 feet at the summit of Pilot Knob in the northwest. As much as 50 percent of the county is prime farmland.
"Frio County was formed by the Texas legislature from parts of Atascosa, Bexar, and Uvalde counties on February 1, 1858, but was not organized until May 22, 1871. In the interim the county remained under the jurisdiction of Bexar County. In accordance with the 1871 legislative mandate the county seat was named Frio and located on the William Eastwood Rancho near the Presidio Road Crossing. This site was chosen because of the promise of irrigated farming offered by the Frio River, as well as the townsite's proximity to the Presidio Road. Elections for the county's first justices of the peace were held at the rancho between July 17 and 20, 1871.
"An attempt to choose a county seat closer to the center of the county than Frio City was defeated in September 1877. Six years later county voters approved making Pearsall the county seat by a vote of 227 to 81."
Ruben E. Ochoa, "FRIO COUNTY," Handbook of Texas Online
I visited Frio County and photographed the courthouse in Pearsall on Thursday, August 27, 2009 and again on Sunday, April 27 2014.
Frio County Courthouse 1904
Henry T. Phelps of San Antonio was the architect for the Frio Country Courthouse, which was originally constructed as a three story brick courthouse with tower located at the center of the north side. The structure was originally covered by a slate roof, but this proved unsatisfactory and in 1911 it was removed.
In the 1930's the entire third floor, roof and tower were removed. A 1950's remodeling and additions resulted in the unattractive building in use today.
In addition to the sad architectural condition of the building, the Frio County courthouse also lacks an appropriate civic setting. The building occupies a non-descript block southeast of the center of Pearsall, in a decidedly ordinary neighborhood. There's absolutely nothing special about this county courthouse's location; no significant public space that is an appropriate setting for the county government's building.