160 of 254 Howard County Courthouse, Big Spring, Texas. County Population: 35,012
"From an early period Big Spring, on Sulphur Draw, had been a favored watering place for Skidi Pawnees and Quahadi Comanches, who fought for its possession and for the herds of buffalo and antelope that wintered there. The spring, now dry, long provided the only reliable source of water within 100 miles.
"The first Europeans to traverse the future county were probably a Spanish expedition of 1768. Capt. Randolph B. Marcy of the U.S. Army described the area in 1849, but it remained unsettled until after the Civil War.
"Howard County was formed from Bexar County on August 21, 1876, and named for Volney Erskine Howard, a United States congressman from Texas in the 1840s and 1850s. It was attached to Mitchell County in 1881 for legal administration, then organized in 1882. Big Spring was designated as county seat. For a time Howard County was responsible for the legal administration of Lynn, Terry, Yoakum, Dawson, Cochran, Gaines, Andrews, Borden, and Martin counties.
"Construction of the Texas and Pacific Railway in 1881 benefited Howard County and particularly Big Spring, where a railroad-maintenance shop provided a stable payroll. The arrival of the railroad also spurred the growth of Big Spring into a major trading center."
Christopher Long, "HOWARD COUNTY," Handbook of Texas Online
I visited Howard County and photographed the courthouse in Big Spring on Friday, July 27, 2012.
Howard County Courthouse 1884
Howard County Courthouse 1908
Architects Otto H. Lang & Frank O. Witchell of Dallas designed the 1908 Howard County courthouse.
Architect Olen L. Puckett was born in Fort Worth in 1907 and studied at Texas Tech University and the Art Institute of Chicago. From 1933-40 Puckett was the Chief Draftsman for Architect David S. Castle in Abilene, designer of several Texas courthouses. From 1940-42 Puckett worked for Architect Wyatt C. Hedrick in Fort Worth. Hedrick also designed a number of Texas courthouses. It's not surprising then that Puckett & French, Architects & Engineers in Big Spring, were selected to design the new Howard County courthouse in the early 1950's. Information from the AIA Architects Directory, 1962 Edition
Will R. and Lillian Settles built this hotel after the discovery of oil on their ranch in 1927. The grand opening was October 1, 1930. Designed by Abilene architect David Castle, the 15-story brick highrise was for many years the tallest building between Fort Worth and El Paso. Under construction for one year, the hotel boasted 150 guest rooms, grand public rooms, office and retail space, furnished apartments, restaurants, ballrooms, and a private club on the top floor.