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Texas | Architecture | Courthouses

BRAZOS COUNTY COURTHOUSES
County Seat - Bryan, Texas

Brazos County has had six courthouses:
1843, 1846 and 1853 (in Boonville), 1871,
1892 and 1955 (in Bryan)

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TX - 1955 Brazos County Courthouse
Brazos County Courthouse
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, January, 2014

The Present (sixth) Brazos County Courthouse
- Bryan, Texas

Date - 1955
Architect - Caudill, Rowlett & Scott
Style - Modern
Material - Brick, steel and marble


Photographer's Note:
"As originally designed, the large building in the center contained the judicial offices, courtrooms and the jail while the surrounding buildings contained the rest of the county offices. A large courtyard used to sit behind the main judicial building. Between 1982 and 1986, an addition was built behind the 1955 courthouse, eliminating the former courtyard.

The interior and exterior of the 1980s addition has recently been renovated. In 2008, the County Administration Building was constructed two blocks south of the 1955 courthouse."
- Terry Jeanson, January, 2014
TX - 1955 Brazos County Courthouse
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, January, 2014

Courthouse History
From The Brazos County Courthouse Cedar
>

"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."
TX Brazos County Courthouse
Dedication plaque for the 1955 courthouse
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, January, 2014
TX - Brazos County Courthouse 1980s addition plaque
Dedication plaque for the 1980s addition.
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, January, 2014
TX Brazos County Courthouse cornerstone
Cornerstone from the 1892 courthouse at the south entrance
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, January, 2014
TX Brazos County Courthouse cedar
The Brazos County courthouse cedar in front of the 1955 courthouse.
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, January, 2014
TX Brazos County Courthouse cedar
Plaque for the Brazos County courthouse cedar. It reads:
This tree has stood at three Brazos County courthouses.
1841 Ferguson Springs, 1843 Boonville, 1892 Bryan.
William Scott Chapter, D.A.R.,
Bryan - 1932.

Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, January, 2014
TX Brazos County Courthouse courtroom
Former district courtroom in the 1955 courthouse.
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, January, 2014
TX 1892 Brazos County Courthouse Bell
The bell from the 1892 Brazos County courthouse actually predates that courthouse by fourteen years.
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, January, 2014
TX 1892 Brazos County Courthouse Bell
The plaque on the bell reads: This bell is from the clock in the former courthouse tower and was specially cast in February of 1878, by Meneely and Kimberly. Founders, Troy, New York.
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, January, 2014

The Fifth Brazos County Courthouse >

The razed Brazos County courthouse, Bryan, Texas

Architect - Eugene Heiner
The 1892 Brazos County courthouse
Razed in 1954

Postcard courtesy texasoldphotos.com

The Fifth Brazos County Courthouse
by Brewster Hudspeth
How to Demolish a Texas Courthouse in 14 Days.
Brazos County Hires an Iowan to Raze their 1892 Building >
See Bryan, Texas | Brazos County
More Texas Courthouses

Related Topics:

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