I left the Liberty Hotel in Cleburne at 8:30 AM Sunday and spent a hour in and around the downtown, including a visit to the train station. Then, I took US 67 west and south to Somervell County, the second smallest Texas county in area. (The smallest Texas county is Rockwall, just east of Dallas.) Glen Rose, the county seat is on the banks of the Paluxy River, which empties into the Brazos a few miles east of Glen Rose. Here's a photograph of Big Rocks Park in Glen Rose.
The Somervell County courthouse in Glen Rose dates from 1893. It's on a small square in the center of this lovely little town. I'd never heard of Glen Rose before but it's on my "must visit" list now.
From Glen Rose I followed Highway 144 north to Hood County. Granbury is the county seat. Lake Granbury, a popular recreational area, is on the east side of the town. On a Sunday morning there was a lot of traffic, vehicles and pedestrians, in the town square. The square is dominated by a large, monumental Second Empire building designed by W.C. Dodson.
I was hungry after photographing the Granbury courthouse square. A block away from the courthouse an old Shamrock filling station caught my eye. It is now a restaurant, the Pearl Street Station, and served an excellent BBQ meal at a resonable price.
With a hearty lunch under my belt, I headed southwest on Highway US 377 to Stephenville, seat of Erath County, the dairy capital of Texas. My first view of the courthouse tower was through a sea of utility poles.
The Erath County courthouse is a J. Riely Gordon design, from 1891. It occupies a square in the center of town, surrounded by numerous historic buildings. Compared to the crowded courthouse square in Granbury, the Stephenville square seemed empty, except for the constant traffic on US 377 Business, on the west side of the block.
From Stephenville I drove southeast on US 281 to Hico, then east on Highway 6 to Meridian, seat of Bosque County. (I understand the county name is pronounced "bos-kee" by the way.) Here's a house, perched on the side of a hill southwest of Meridian. It must have spectacular views.
I approached Meridian with some trepidation. The Courthouses of Texas guidebook included a photograph of the 1886 courthouse following "modern" alterations made in 1935. The original clock tower and mansard roofs were removed, among other changes.
Imagine my surprise, then, when this is what I saw on my approach to Meridian! Whoa, this isn't what I expected!
Its turns out the Bosque County courthouse has received the "Wharton County" treatment! That is, a complete restoration, returning the building to the original design, including a new roof and clock tower. Thank you THC!
Discoveries like this make my day. Leaving Meridian I retraced my steps east to Fairfield, seat of Freestone County, arriving about 3:45 PM. I proceeded to re-photograph the courthouse and square to replace the images I'd accidently deleted the previous day. Here's the 1919 neo-classical Freestone County courthouse:
Tired, but very satisfied with my two day road trip, I left Fairfield at 4:30 PM and returned 160 miles to my home in Houston. This past weekend I added 8 new counties and re-visited another, for a total of 143 out of 254 Texas counties. But wait, there's more. As my friend Melissa Kean would say, "here's a bonus photograph," taken on my way south on I-45, in Walker County.
Leonard G. Lane, Jr., AIA
- Chronological Order (of my visits)
- County List (alphabetical)
- Texas Courthouse Blog
- James Riely Gordon, Architect
- Eugene T. Heiner, Architect
- Henry T. Phelps, Architect
- Alfred Giles, Architect
- Corneil G. Curtis, Architect
- Wesley Clark Dodson, Architect
- Lang & Witchell Architects
- Voelcker & Dixon, Architects
- Wyatt C. Hedrick, Architect
- David S. Castle, Architect
- Page Brothers, Architects
- James Edward Flanders, Architect
- Pierce, Norris, Pace & Associates, Architects & Engineers