Leaving Houston on Thursday morning, May 17, my first stop was Hamilton County, a couple of hundred miles from Hosuton on Highway 36. I'd originally photographed this courthouse in June 2011. At the time, the courthouse was undergoing a restoration and wasn't quite complete. So, I scheduled a second visit to photograph the newly restored building. The view above is on Highway 36, a block east of the courthouse square. I like to find and photograph first views of the courthouse towers. This intersection provided just such a glimpse of the tower above an abandoned gas station and some horses traveling in style! The courthouse is beautiful and in great condition following a complete restoration. And, a couple of blocks south of the square, on S. Rice Street (US 281), I found a nice historic home for sale. I may have to move to Hamilton and restore it. The price seems right and living on Rice Street would be appropriate for me.
Over the last 42 years I have traveled Highway 36 between Houston and Abilene many times, beginning in November 1970 during my freshman year at Rice University. My mother's family is from Abilene and I've visited the city frequently. This route passes through the county seats of Austin, Washington, Burleson, Milam, Coryell, Hamilton, and Comanche counties, before arriving in Abilene, the seat of Taylor County. Since beginning my courthouse project these counties and their courthouses have become very familiar to me. After Hamilton the next major town is Comanche, only 81 miles from Abilene. Here's the view from the road as one approaches Comanche.
I've already photographed the Comanche County courthouse so I kept driving, through Rising Star and Cross Plains, and then Abilene. Getting on I-20, I headed west for Sweetwater, seat of Nolan County. Those of you who follow this blog will know the Nolan County courthouse is having exterior "skin" issues. The granite panels were falling off of the building. I wanted to visit Sweetwater again to see what the courthouse looked like without its exterior finish. I wasn't disappointed. Here's the "naked" building. (I've already upated the Nolan County page. Click here to see more photographs.)
The day was coming to a close but I had another 100 miles or so to drive. I drove west a few miles to Roscoe and then took US 84 north. My next stop was in Synder, seat of Scurry County. The Scurry County courthouse is not going to make anyone's best building list. It's actually a building within a building. The original 1911 courthouse is buried inside a 1972 remodeling. For some reason, there are not any windows. Here's the result.
I stopped for gas before leaving Synder..
The sun was getting low in the west but I made it to Post, seat of Garza County before it set. Post, named for the industrialist C.W. Post, of cereal fame, was founded as a model city in the plains of northwest Texas. I've always remembered the town as the place where Highway 84 climbs up the "caprock escarpment" on the way to Lubbock. The town isn't exactly a model city but it's pleasant. Here's the Garza County courthouse with Mr. Post.
As the sun set over the Llano Estacado I arrived in Lubbock, where I spent Thursday night. It's certainly flat.
Leonard G. Lane, Jr., AIA
- Chronological Order (of my visits)
- County List (alphabetical)
- County Seat 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