178 of 254 Presidio County Courthouse, Marfa, Texas. County Population: 7,818
I visited Presidio County and photographed the courthouse in Marfa on Friday, March 22 and Sunday, March 24, 2013.
"Presidio County is in the Trans-Pecos region of southwest Texas and is named for the ancient border settlement of Presidio del Norte.
" Presidio County comprises 3,857 square miles of contrasting topography, geology, and vegetation. The prairies, mountains, desert, and river give Presidio County an unusual beauty. Altitudes in the county vary from 2,518 to 7,728 feet above sea level.
"Although the United States census of 1850 reported no population for Presidio County, a sufficient number lived there to establish the county from Bexar Land District on January 3, 1850. Fort Leaton was the county seat. In 1854 the army built Fort Davis in northern Presidio County to protect travelers and settlers.
"Presidio County was organized in 1875 as the largest county in the United
States, with 12,000 square miles. Fort Davis was named the county seat.
"The railroad reached Presidio County in 1882 when the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway laid tracks through its northeastern corner.
"The boundaries and seat of Presidio County were changed in the 1880s. Marfa was established in 1883, and the county seat was moved there from Fort Davis in 1885. Two years later Fort Davis became the seat of Jeff Davis County, which was established from Presidio County lands. That same year Brewster, Buchel, and Foley counties were also carved from Presidio, reducing the county to its present size as the fourth largest in the state."
Cauble Smith, "PRESIDIO COUNTY," Handbook of Texas Online
Presidio County Courthouse 1887
"In February 1886, the county contracted with James H. Britton to construct a courthouse for sixty thousand dollars on land provided by the county. Britton had been the contractor on the now demolished El Paso County Courthouse designed by Alfred Giles. The Marfa courthouse is similar in style and massing to its El Paso counterpart, but it is not as intricately detailed and lacks the ornate porches of the El Paso courthouse. Britton designed the Presidio County Courthouse in the Second Empire style with Italianate details." From the THC - Texas Historic Atlas online
"... the Presidio County Courthouse is a fine brick and stone building in Second Empire style incorporating details from the Italianate mode. Pavilions boldly projecting from each of the corners are surmounted with Mansard roofs with dormers with triangular pediments and iron cresting.
"The main mass of the rectangular building is distinguished on the north and south sides by three triangular pediments in symmetrical composition in Italianate style, one of which emphasizes the entrances.
"The different forms of the five-part facades are unified by several features,
including stringcourses girdling the building at the window sill level of the
second and third floors." From the National Register narrative
The brick exterior of the courthouse was originally exposed. In 1929 it was "stuccoed" over and painted a salmon color to resemble the original brick.
The El Paisano Hotel. Named for the nearby Paisano Mountain pass, this structure was completed in 1930. Gateway Hotel Company, owners of several area hotels, built it in anticipation of a local oil boom that never materialized. The architectural firm Trost and Trost of El Paso designed the building. Constructed around a central courtyard area, the structure reflects Spanish Baroque styling. It was considered to be the finest hotel between El Paso and San Antonio.