077 of 254: Jim Wells County Courthouse, Alice, Texas. County Population: 40,838
"The county covers 845 square miles. The terrain is flat, with elevations ranging from 200 to 400 feet.
"Originally the site of the future Jim Wells County fell under the jurisdiction of San Patricio County, but a short time later it was incorporated into newly formed Nueces County.
"Collins, the first sizable American settlement, was established in 1878.
"But a few years later, when the Texas and New Orleans bypassed the town, the buildings were loaded onto train cars and moved to the junction of the new road with the Texas-Mexican Railway, three miles to the west. The new town, originally known as Bandana, was renamed Alice [in honor of Alice Gertrudis King Kleberg, Kleberg's wife and the daughter of Richard King.]
"Because of the long distance residents had to travel in order to conduct business at the county seat in Corpus Christi, they petitioned for the formation of a separate county. The request was approved by the legislature in early 1911 ...
"The new county was formally organized in 1912, and named for James B. Wells, Jr., who played an important role in the economic development of the lower Rio Grande valley."
Alicia A. Garza, "JIM WELLS COUNTY," Handbook of Texas Online
I visited Jim Wells County and photographed the courthouse in Alice on September 24 and 25, 2010.
Jim Wells County Courthouse 1912
This is a design in search of a style. San Antonio architect Atlee Ayres created a neo-classical building with Mediterranean influences and a touch of the prairie style. Then, in 1941, a pair of moderne bookends were added on the east and west sides of the building, resulting in, well, a mess.