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Texas | Architecture | Courthouses

GRIMES COUNTY COURTHOUSE
County Seat - Anderson, Texas

Grimes County has had five courthouses:
1838, 1838, ca. 1850, 1891 & 1893
History - The Courthouses of Grimes County by Terry Jeanson

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TX - Grimes County Courthouse
The 1893 Grimes County Courthouse
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark

Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, April, 2009

Courthouse History by Terry Jeanson:

THE COURTHOUSES OF GRIMES COUNTY

One of the earliest settlers in Grimes County was Englishman Henry Fanthorp who had built a two-room log home in 1834 which also served as a store and a post office by the following year. The home was later expanded into a hotel called the Fanthorp Inn. Although the area was still part of Montgomery County in 1838, the Texas Historical Commission lists a log courthouse being built there that year. It burned down shortly afterwards and the second courthouse was also built in 1838.

Grimes County was officially organized in 1846 and named for Jesse Grimes, a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence and a senator in the Republic of Texas and later in the state legislature. His son, Albert Calvin Grimes, died at the battle of the Alamo. Fanthorp donated land for the county seat and a site between the settlements of Alta Mira and Randolph was chosen. It was named Anderson after Kenneth Lewis Anderson, vice-president of the Republic of Texas, who died at the Fanthorp Inn on July 3, 1845. In time, Anderson encompassed the Fanthorp Inn, Alta Mira and Randolph.

The second courthouse burned in the Fall of 1848 and a third courthouse, a stone building built at the site of the current courthouse, was constructed around 1850. This courthouse burned in 1890 with only the vault remaining. A fourth courthouse was constructed in 1891, designed by architects Jacob Larmour and Arthur O. Watson and built by contractors J.O. Wilson and J.A. Wilson. It was built in the Italianate style of brick and stone. This courthouse also burned ca. 1893, again leaving the old vault behind which was placed in the following courthouse.

The fifth and current courthouse is thought to resemble the fourth one, incorporating its east wall and foundation. Designed by the Houston architectural firm F.S. Glover and Co. (who also designed the 1896 Madison County courthouse) and built by G.T. Macon (Mason?) and Thomas C. Foster, construction began in 1893 and was completed in 1894. The three-story courthouse is constructed of hand molded red brick with limestone details, covered by a steeply pitched roof surmounted by four chimneys and a wood framed cupola with flared eaves. A double sided staircase on the front of the building rises to the entrance of the district courtroom. This courthouse was restored under the Texas Historical Commissionís Courthouse Preservation Program and rededicated on March 2, 2002.



- Terry Jeanson, November 20, 2014

Sources:
County history from The Handbook of Texas Online.
Courthouse history/dates from The Texas Historical Commission at http://www.thc.state.tx.us/,
The Texas Historical Commissionís Texas Historic Sites Atlas at http://atlas.thc.state.tx.us/shell-county.htm and
The Courthouses of Texas by Mavis P.Kelsey Sr. and Donald H. Dyal, 2nd edition, 2007.


Grimes County courthouse, Anderson Texas vintage photo
The courthouse as it appeared in 1939
Photo courtesy TXDoT

The Present Grimes County Courthouse
County Seat - Anderson, Texas

Date - 1893
Architect - F. S. Glover
Style - Italianate
Material - Brick and stone

TX - Grimes County Courthouse Historical Marker
"The courthouse's historical marker erroneously lists the date of construction of the current courthouse as 1891" - Terry Jeanson
Historical Marker Text:

Grimes County Courthouse

Unique Victorian Texas public building. Third courthouse here. Site, in an 1824 land grant from Mexico, was donated 1850 by Henry Fanthorp, first permanent settler in county.

Built 1891 of hand-molded brick with native stone trim. Vault is same one used in previous buildings; has twice withstood fires. Tried here in 1930s, a Clyde Barrow gang member vowed he'd see court in infernal regions.

Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 1965

TX - Grimes County Courthouse cornerstone

The courthouse's cornerstone
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, April, 2009
More Texas Cornerstones

TX - Grimes County Courthouse district courtroom

The district courtroom, showing the restored pressed tin ceiling.
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, April, 2009

TX - Grimes County Courthouse
Northwest corner of the courthouse showing the rear entrance.
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, April, 2009
Grimes County courthouse, Anderson Texas
Grimes County Courthouse
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, July 2002
Grimes County courthouse, Anderson Texas
Grimes County Courthouse
TE Photo 2002
Anderson, TX  main street
Anderson, Texas Old Photos
Courtesy William Beauchamp Collection
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Anderson, Texas
Grimes County
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