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Texas | Architecture | Courthouses

HOUSTON COUNTY COURTHOUSE
County Seat - Crockett, Texas

Houston County has had five courthouses:
1838, 1851, 1869, 1883 and the current 1939 courthouse
See Five Courthouses of Houston County historical marker

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Crockett, TX - Houston County courthouse
Houston County Courthouse
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 2000
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, December 2015

The Present Houston County Courthouse
- Crockett, Texas

Date - 1939
Architect - Blum E. Hester
Style - Moderne; Art Deco
Material - Stone
401 E. Houston Ave., Crockett, TX
Houston County courthouse, Crockett, Texas
Houston County Courthouse as it appeared in 1939
Photo courtesy TXDoT
Crockett, TX - Houston County courthouse historical marker
Houston County courthouse historical marker
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, December 2015
Historical Marker

Houston County Courthouse

In early 1938, the Houston County commissioners court, with County Judge B. F. Bradley presiding, began making plans for construction of the county's fifth courthouse. Built in 1939 with funds from the federal Public Works Administration, the building was designed by Houston County native Blum Hester and constructed by Eckert-Fair Construction Co. of Dallas. The Moderne style courthouse with Art Deco features is a reflection of popular architectural trends of the 1930s and remains a center of politics and government for the county's citizens.
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 2000
Crockett, TX - Houston County courthouse
Southwest corner of the courthouse
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, December 2015
Crockett, TX - Houston County courthouse
South side entrance
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, December 2015
Crockett, TX - Houston County courthouse
Courthous east side entrance
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, December 2015
Crockett, TX - Houston County courthouse cornerstone
Houston County courthouse cornerstone
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, December 2015
More Texas Cornerstones
Crockett, TX - Houston County courthouse lobby
Main floor lobby
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, December 2015
Houston County Courthouse, Crockett, Texas
Houston County Courthouse
Photo Courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2006
Crockett, TX - Houston County prisoners at work
Crime doesn't pay (but you get to wear some pretty nice clothes)
Photo Courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2006

Crockett, TX - Five Houston County courthouses historical marker
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, December 2015
Historical Marker (west side of Courthouse Square)

Five Courthouses of Houston County

On June 12, 1837, President Sam Houston authorized the formation of Houston County, the first newly created county in the Republic of Texas. Andrew W. Gossett (1812-1890) donated land, which included this square, for the townsite. He and his father, Elijah, both veterans of the Battle of San Jacinto, named the county for Sam Houston, and the county seat for David Crockett, a former Tennessee friend.

The first county courthouse, a log structure which served as a fortress during Indian attacks, was in use at this location by 1838. A brick building, which replaced the first courthouse in 1851, was destroyed by a fire of mysterious origin in 1865. County business was conducted in the L.E. Downes building on the southwest corner of the square until a two-story frame structure was finished in 1869. A jail addition burned in 1871 while it was under construction. The third courthouse and jail burned in 1882.

The fourth courthouse, completed at this site in 1883, was razed in 1938. While this three-story structure was under construction, county business was conducted in the Crockett Hotel. In 1975 the third-floor jail was moved to a separate building and the fifth Houston County courthouse was remodeled.
(1979)

1883 Houston County Courthouse
- Crockett, Texas
Architect - Wesley Clark Dodson
Material - Brick
Description - Two story with clock tower
Razed in 1938
Oil painting of 1883 Houston County courthouse, Crockett Texas
Oil painting of 1883 Houston County courthouse
displayed on second floor of the current courthouse.
Artist - Norma B. Murray.

Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, December 2015
Houston County Courthouse

From Oddities by Mike Cox

"Even during the Depression, itís hard to imagine a 55-year-old building being sold for only $1.

But thatís what the Commissionerís Court of Houston County sold their 1883-vintage courthouse for back in 1939. There was a catch, of course.

The new owner of the structure had to agree to tear it down immediately so make room for construction of a new courthouse. The county found a buyer, who presumably recouped his investment by selling material salvaged from the building, and the building was razed.

County officials conducted their business in the nearby Crockett Hotel until the new courthouse was completed. That one, a stone, Moderne-style structure which cost $200,000 to build, still stands on the square in Crockett."... more


1869 Houston County Courthouse
- Crockett, Texas


Architect Contractor - J. H. Burnett
Material - wood
Description - Two story. Courtroom on upper floor.
Destroyed by fire in November 13, 1882

1851 Houston County Courthouse
- Crockett, Texas


Material - Brick
Description - 2 story
Destroyed in February 2, 1865

1838 Houston County Courthouse
- Crockett, Texas


Architect - John Jacob Erwin
Contractor - John Erwin
Style - Vernacular
Material - Log
Description - Fort like structure
Demolished in 1850 for new courthouse.

See Crockett, Texas |
Houston County
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