173 of 254 Dawson County Courthouse, Lamesa, Texas. County Population: 13,833
"Dawson County (D-9) lies on the eastern edge of the Llano Estacado on the southern High Plains.
"The county comprises 902 square miles of rolling prairie, broken on the east [by the edge of the Llano Estacado].
"The area was the summer home of Comanches and Kiowas, who moved from waterhole to waterhole in a region that white men suppose waterless.
"Buffalo hunters, more than soldiers, were probably responsible for driving the Indians from the area. A surveying party for Texas and Pacific Railway lands in 1875 reported the presence of thousands of buffalo, and hunters moved in. As cattlemen learned that the grass on the Plains would produce fat cattle, ranchmen moved from the Lower Plains south of the Caprock to the new lands.
"Dawson County, named for Nicholas Mosby Dawson, [hero of the Texas Revolution,] had been formed on August 21, 1876, but was attached to Howard County for judicial purposes until February 13, 1905, when separate organization was authorized. Dawson County's first election to choose officials and select the county seat was held on March 20, 1905. The contesting towns, Lamesa and Chicago, were only two miles apart. Lamesa won by five votes, but a movement was already afoot to consolidate the towns and all businesses and residences in Chicago were moved into Lamesa."
Leona M. Gelin and Mark Odintz, "DAWSON COUNTY," Handbook of Texas Online
I visited Dawson County and photographed the courthouse in Lamesa on Sunday, July 29, 2012.
Dawson County Courthouse 1905
Dawson County Courthouse 1916
Dawson County Courthouse 1952
Dawson County's first courthouse, a 2-story frame building, was soon replaced (in 1916) by an imposing brick structure designed by architect Marshall Robert Sanguinet, of the Fort Worth firm Sanguinet & Staats.
The bilaterally symmetrical, neo-classical design was a "generic" traditional courthouse. In fact, in 1922 Sanguinet & Staats recycled the design for the Gaines County courthouse, west of Dawson County.
In 1952 the architectural firm of Allen & Allen designed a large addition to the south side of the 1916 courthouse and altered the existing historic building, stripping it of classical elements and creating new porches on the west, north and east facades. This is the current courthouse.