031 of 254: Jefferson County Courthouse, Beaumont, Texas. County Population: 252,273
"The first settlement within the confines of the present county, made at Tevis Bluff in 1824, became Beaumont. The area that became Jefferson County was included in the Mexican Department of Nacogdoches as part of Liberty Municipality in Lorenzo de Zavala's empresario grant of 1831. It later became part of Jefferson Municipality. The Cow Bayou settlement in this municipality, organized in 1835 and later known as Old Jefferson, became the first county seat and the place through which the county grew.
"Jefferson County, formed in 1836 and organized in 1837, was one of the original counties in the Republic of Texas. It was named for the municipality that preceded it, which was in turn named for Thomas Jefferson. The county boundaries, as delineated on December 21, 1837, included all of the future Orange County, a part of what later became Hardin County, and the extreme eastern part of the future Chambers County. The first county seat, Jefferson, or Old Jefferson, on the east bank of Cow Bayou, was replaced by Beaumont in 1838 and had disappeared by 1845, when the site of Orange was surveyed. Orange was first called Jefferson or New Jefferson."
Diana J. Kleiner, "JEFFERSON COUNTY," Handbook of Texas Online
I visited Jefferson County and photographed the courthouse in Beaumont on December 27, 2009, and again on April 5, 2012.
Jefferson County Courthouses Historical Marker
"The first county building constructed at this site was a jailhouse completed in 1838, two years after the organization of Jefferson County. Located on land acquired from Nancy Tevis, a pioneer settler of the area, it also housed county offices and courts. When the commissioners court outgrew the facility, sessions were held in private homes. The first courthouse here was completed in 1854. Built by John A. Beaumont, it was a two-story square structure surrounded by a six-foot picket fence. Baptist and Methodist congregations conducted Sunday services in the building and during the Civil War it was leased to D. T. Inglehart, a Confederate surgeon, for use as a hospital. A second courthouse was constructed in 1893, twelve years after the incorporation of Beaumont. Designed by E. T. Heiner, it was a three-story red brick building with white trim. Following the area oil boom of the 1920s it proved inadequate to meet the needs of the growing population and was replaced by the present brick courthouse in 1931. Designed by Fred Stone and A. Babin, the fourteen-story building features art deco styling in the use of sculpted ornamentation and marble interior work."
A courthouse annex was constructed in 1981, in an unsympathic modern style that clashes with the art deco building.
The Round VIII Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program grant recipients were announced on April 30, 2014 by the Texas Historical Commission at its quarterly meeting. Jefferson County: $450,000 grant award for replacement of 30-year-old fire detection and alarm system. The lack of a fully operational system impacts safe egress from this 14-story building.