The Present (sixth)
Brazos County Courthouse
County Seat - Bryan, Texas
Date - 1955
Architect - Caudill, Rowlett & Scott
Style - Modern
Material - Brick, steel and marble
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present Brazos County Courthouse, circa 1955
Photo courtesy THC
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
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
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When Bryan superseded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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Fifth Brazos County courthouse
Razed in 1954