110 of 254: Jasper County Courthouse, Jasper, Texas. County Population: 35,710
"Jasper County was established when the Convention of 1836 converted old municipalities into counties, but it was not until 1837 that an act was passed defining the county boundaries. The town of Jasper was named county seat by the county commissioners in 1836 and grew around a log courthouse and jail built on the main square.
"The county was named for William Jasper, a hero of the American Revolution who was killed attempting to plant the American colors at the storming of Savannah in 1779.
"In 1846 the original Jasper County was split into two parts; the eastern portion became Newton County.
"After a fire destroyed the Jasper County Courthouse and all county records in 1849, a new two-story structure was quickly constructed."
Glenn Justice, "JASPER COUNTY," Handbook of Texas Online
"The only known soldier of the American Revolution to be buried in Texas was Jasper resident Stephen Williams, in whose honor a marker has
been placed on the courthouse lawn."
Diana J. Kleiner, "JASPER, TX," Handbook of Texas Online
Like its neighbor to the east, Newton County, Jasper County is long, tall and thin, but with a little handle on the northwest corner, the result of the county line that follows the Neches River as it wiggles across east Texas.
I visited Jasper County and photographed the courthouse Jasper on August 20 and 21, 2011, during the height of the 2011 drought in Texas. I visited again on August 16, 2015.
Jasper County Courthouse 1889/1934/1960/1992
"The Jasper County Courthouse is the product of three separate building campaigns which reflect the enlargement of the original masonry structure to meet increased demands for county office space. The original structure, [designed by Houston architect Eugene T. Heiner] which is Italianate in character, is flanked to the east and west by additions made in 1934, while a further addition was made to the east in 1960. The original structure was stuccoed in 1934, and its roof was simplified.
"The central block, the original structure erected in 1889-90, is a two-story masonry building with a stucco exterior finish. The north and south elevations have not been encumbered by later additions, and are divided into five bays.
"The original courthouse block is capped off with a simple bracketed cornice, and pediments are set above the central bays of both the north and south elevations.
"In 1934, the courthouse was expanded to the east and west in the form of two matching additions. These additions are two stories high, five bays wide, and three bays deep. Their fenestration uses round-arch openings on the first floor and square-headed openings on the second. These sections are otherwise devoid of ornamentation. While these additions did cause the loss of much original fabric on the east and west sides of the original structure, the additions are low and left the original cornice of the 1889-90 structure undisturbed. In the building campaign which resulted in the construction of the two additions, the exterior of the original building was modified. The brick exterior walls were faced with stucco and the roof was simplified slightly. In 1957, the clock tower atop the main building was taken down for repairs and [was not replaced until a replica was constructed in 1992].
"In 1960, a further addition was made to the east of the courthouse. This most recent addition, which is referred to as the Jasper County Building, is connected to the rest of the complex by a single-story hyphen. The structure itself is three stories high, and its first floor is cut into the slope of the land. The 1960 addition uses round-arch fenestration on the second floor, with square-headed openings on the first and third floors.
"When the functions of county government dictated the need for additional office space, the decision was made in 1934 simply to add more space to the existing structure, and not demolish the outdated building and start over with an entirely new edifice. Thus the political activities long associated with the structure designed by Heiner were allowed to continue in their original building. The county courtroom, located on the second floor of the 1889-90 building, is perhaps the building's most important space." From the National Register narrative