155 of 254 Cooke County Courthouse, Gainesville, Texas. County Population: 40,428
"Cooke County was established by an act of the Texas legislature on March 20, 1848, and named for William G. Cooke, a hero of the Texas Revolution. The boundaries of the original county encompassed its present area, along with territory that became Montague, Clay, Wise, and Jack counties. Cooke County assumed its present boundaries in 1857.
"Early settlers employed Daniel Montague to locate a site for a county seat fifteen miles west of the Grayson county line. They planned to name the town Liberty, but the state rejected that name because another settlement near Houston had claimed it. Col. William F. Fitzhugh, com-mander at the fort, proposed that the town be named for his former commander, Gen. Edmund Pendleton Gaines. Gainesville, founded in 1850, has been the county seat since the organization of the county.
"The Denison and Pacific Railway reached Gainesville on November 7, 1879, from the east; it later became the Missouri, Kansas and Texas (Katy) Railroad. The Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe connected Gainesville and Denton on January 2, 1887, on its way to meet the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe at Purcell, Indian Territory. These links provided for the first time a north-south rail line from Chicago to Galveston."
Robert Wayne McDaniel, "COOKE COUNTY," Handbook of Texas Online
I visited Cooke County and photographed the courthouse in Gainesville on Thursday, June 28, 2012. This is one of my favorite courthouses.
Cooke County Courthouse 1880
"The Cooke County Courthouse is among a relatively small group of Texas courthouses built in the early 20th century. The 1880's and 1890's were the most active years of courthouse building in the state; indeed, Cooke County's previous courthouse was built in 1880. However, when it burned in 1909, the effort began to rebuild in a style and scale appro-priate to the aspirations of the county.
"The county commissioners' selection of the prominent Dallas firm of Lang & Witchell as architects for the Cooke County Courthouse reflects both great optimism about the community's future and a surprisingly progressive bent. Otto Lang and Frank Witchell were known for their work in Dallas, a young city in the midst of rapid growth as a regional trade center. Their designs increasingly reflected the influences of Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright and the Prairie School of architecture within a framework of Beaux Arts formality."
From the National Register narrative
Cooke County Courthouse 1911
"The Cooke County Courthouse of 1911 is a composition of Beaux Arts design in its massing and exterior classical references-- with Sullivanesque interior details in a modern interpretation of established courthouse design. It is a three-story cruciform-plan building set on a raised basement and surmounted by a central domed tower. The courthouse is finished in limestone and beige brick with glazed terra cotta used for decorative elements. The building occupies an entire block in the middle of Gainesville, Cooke County." From the National Register narrative
The courthouse has been fully restored with the help of the state of Texas.
"Cooke County received a planning grant in Round III, a construction grant to restore the exterior of the building in Round IV and an interior construction grant in Round V that completed the full restoration of the building by opening the District Courtroom to its full height, exposing the natural light to the stained glass dome, restoring all interior finishes to their original appearance and color, and repairing its original tower clock to working order."
The courthouse was re-dedicated on November 12, 2011.