Monday, May 9 would be the last day of my 9 year trip around the 254 counties of Texas. I left Amarillo and followed US 60 to Panhandle, turned north on Texas 207 and headed towards Borger. From Borger, I continued north, passing through Stinnett and its grand courthouse and then angling northeast towards Hansford County, #251. This area at the top of the panhandle is rolling prairie, supporting cattle and crops alike. Spearman, the seat of Hansford County is also the windmill capital of Texas. There's a fascinating collection of historic and contemporary windmills in a park on the south side of town.
Lunch in Spearman was at the ubiquitous Dairy Queen, my "restaurant" of last resort on the Texas courthouse trail. Heading west on Texas 15 I crossed some very productive farmland. It was a beautiful afternoon and the wind was blowing "not too much." Two weeks later I saw pictures of a massive tornado crossing this area. Not on my trip, thank goodness. I arrived in Stratford, Texas, seat of Sherman County, #252, in mid-afternoon. I had started to photograph the exterior of the Sherman County courthouse (1922) when the County Sheriff crossed my path in front of the building and introduced himself. When I explained my courthouse project he offered to give me a tour of the courthouse, beginning with the county jail, which is in the basement. I spent the next 45 minutes learning all about the courthouse and jail, including a photograph, taken in the courthouse in January 1938. The photograph documented the presentation of a Thompson submachine gun to the Sherman County Sheriff's Office by the FBI. I'm told by the sheriff that the FBI gave one of the guns to each county sheriff in Texas...
Leaving Stratford in my rearview mirror, I pointed the car southwest on US 54, the straight as an arrow road leading to Dalhart, Texas, the seat of Dallam County, #253. Dalhart is barely in Dallam County -- the south side of Dalhart is in neighboring Hartley County. The Dallam County courthouse is located on a small square in the downtown area.
And then my trip, my circuit of the state's 254 counties, was over. I stood outside of the Dallam County courthouse and thought about my courthouse trail experiences for a while. My reverie was broken by a call from my colleagues at Chelsea Architects in Houston, congratulating me. After the call I was overcome with emotion and fatigue. But, soon enough it was time to get back in the car and find my way back to Amarillo. After all, I had one more day left on this road trip...
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