054 of 254: Bell County Courthouse, Belton, Texas. County Population: 355,700
"Bell County, in east central Texas, is located along the Balcones Escarpment approximately forty-five miles north of the Capitol in Austin ...
"The eastern part of the county, on the Blackland Prairie, consists of comparatively level prairieland, mainly undulating to gently rolling. The western half of the county belongs to the Grand Prairie region of Texas, and includes undulating to rolling uplands, deeply cut with stream valleys that, in places, have stony slopes and steep bluffs.
"Anglo settlement began in the 1830s, when the area was part of Robertson's Colony and, somewhat later, part of old Milam County.
"Bell County was formed on January 22, 1850, and named for Peter H. Bell. Nolan Springs was chosen as the county seat and named Nolanville. On December 16, 1851, the name was changed to Belton. In 1854 Coryell County was marked off from Bell County, and in 1856 the legislature attached a six-mile-wide strip of Falls County to Bell County. In 1860, when a resurvey of the line between Bell and Milam counties was made and recognized by the legislature, Bell County assumed its present boundaries.
"A more permanent change in county life brought about by World War II was the establishment of the military base at Fort Hood in the western part of the county ..."
Seymour V. Connor and Mark Odintz, "BELL COUNTY," Handbook of Texas Online
I visited Bell County and photographed the courthouse in Belton on July 24, 2010 and again on May 31, 2013.
"The Bell County Courthouse, in a manner typical of many Texas courthouses of the period, occupies a single block reserved within the grid of streets. Four uniformly porticoed facades give equal prominence to the surrounding commercial blocks.
"Imposing in mass and appearance, the building was designed in 1883 by J.N. Preston and Sons of Austin in the Renaissance Revival style. Three stories in height and measuring 155 by 76 feet, it was constructed of a goldenhued stone from a local quarry.
"The finished structure with its classical porticos and one hundred and
twenty-five-foot tower surmounted by a statue of the Goddess of Justice must have been an impressive sight. The Fort Worth Daily Gazette of May l9, 1885 noted admiringly that, 'Among the many new courthouses built in the state during the past three years...the Bell County Courthouse surpasses all in beauty of design and elegance of finish ...' "
From the National Register listing narrative
The Bell County courthouse was fully restored in 1999.