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  Texas : Architecture : Courthouses :

BRAZOS COUNTY COURTHOUSES
County Seat - Bryan, Texas

The Present (sixth) Brazos County Courthouse
Date - 1955
Architect - Caudill, Rowlett & Scott
Style - Modern
Material - Brick, steel and marble


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Brazos County Courthouse, Bryan, Texas
The present Brazos County Courthouse, circa 1955

Photo courtesy THC

Courthouse History
From The Brazos County Courthouse Cedar
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"In 1841 when Navasota County (later to become Brazos County) was created, the tiny tree was growing alongside the cabin of Joseph Ferguson, near the Navasota River. This cabin served as the first county courthouse since it was there that the first court convened and where county officials were first elected.

The Ferguson cabin didn't have a floor plan amenable to such a crush of politicians. Many went home imprinted by the belt buckles of their political colleagues. So a new courthouse was planned for a new county seat of government - in Boonville. Politicians were measured and the cabin was built to accommodate their collective girth.

The little cedar missed out on this courthouse and in juvenile bliss added a few growth rings to its trunk back at the Ferguson cabin.

The Texas Congress in 1842 changed the county name from Navasota to Brazos - just to make things difficult for geography teachers.

A frame courthouse was built in 1846 (also in Boonville) and in 1854 we get back to the story of our featured tree. Since the 1846 building had been used from everything from dances to hog-scaldings, they added a second story when they built the new one.

Enter Colonel Harvey Mitchell. The Colonel was called "The Father of Brazos County" by almost everyone. (Except for his children who simply called him Daddy.) The Colonel took it upon himself to have trees and shrubs planted around the new courthouse and went so far as to include the little fellow from the Ferguson cabin who was still in saplinghood.

When Bryan superseded Boonville as county seat in 1866 the tree stayed where it was - gathering strength for future transplanting.

1870 saw Brazos County erecting it's fourth courthouse - on the site where today's current (6th) courthouse stands. Colonel Mitchell had the cedar transplanted again. After 20-some years - the fourth courthouse started showing it's age and civil servants started disappearing from their second story offices. It was found that they were "slipping through the cracks" - literally.

In the early 1890s - they took bids on a new courthouse (the 5th) and an architect named Eugene Heiner won the commission. Heiner designed many Texas Courthouses, although the only one extant is in Hallettsville.

In 1955, the courthouse was replaced by the current courthouse, a forgettable building just east of downtown Bryan. The cornerstone of the 1892 courthouse sits in the sparse shade of the Courthouse Cedar a tree that has stood beside the 5 courthouses of Brazos County."

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The Fifth Brazos County Courthouse >
Architect - Eugene Heiner
The razed Braxos County courthouse, Bryan, Texas
The Fifth Brazos County courthouse
Circa 1892
Razed in 1954


Postcard courtesy texasoldphotos.com
How to Demolish a Texas Courthouse in 14 Days
Brazos County Hires an Iowan to Raze their 1892 Building
>
by Brewster Hudspeth

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Brazos County Texas Forum

Anyone wishing to share history, stories or photos of Brazos County Courthouse or towns, please contact us.
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