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Bee County TX
Bee County



Texas | Architecture | Courthouses

BEE COUNTY COURTHOUSE
County Seat - Beeville, Texas

Bee County has had three courthouses:
1861, 1879 and 1912

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Bee County courthouse, Beeville, Texas
Bee County Courthouse today
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2006

The Present Bee County Courthouse
Beeville, Texas

Date - 1912
Architect - Stephenson and Heldenfels
Contractor - W.C. Whitney
Style - Beaux-arts
Material - Brick

1973 Remodeling by Ayres & Ayres.
Late 1990 - early 1991 - Severe fire damage and vandalism

Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 2000

Beeville's 1912 Courthouse has most of the accessories you look for in a courthouse - A clock, dome, statue of the Goddess of Justice and large Corinthian columns.
Bee County courthouse 1939 photo, Beeville, Texas
Bee County Courthouse as it appeared in 1939
Photo courtesy TXDoT
Historical Marker:

Bee County Courthouse

Bee County was created in 1857 from parts of five neighboring counties. The first county seat was located seven miles east of this site, and the first commissioners court was held on the banks of Medio Creek in February 1858. The city's earliest courthouse consisted of a box frame structure. In 1912, local architect W. C. Stephenson designed this, the county's fourth courthouse.

A native of Buffalo, New York, Stephenson aided in the design of the death mask of President William McKinley. He was the architect of several Beeville buildings, including the Rialto Theater, two churches and several houses, and later designed the Classical Revival McMullen County courthouse. W. C. Whitney, builder of three other Texas courthouses, contracted to build the Bee County courthouse for $72,050. Whitney died during construction and W. C. Stephenson's partner, Fritz Heldenfels, completed the project.

Stephenson drew upon the strong contemporary influence of the French Beaux Arts School with a level of grandeur previously nonexistent in Bee County. Some original Beaux Arts features such as the cast stone balustrade originally outlining the roof were later removed, and the 1943 addition partially obscured the symmetrical plan and fašade of the edifice.

The Bee County courthouse is a fine example of the Classical Revival style. Of particular significance are the grand portico and projecting pediment entry with Corinthian columns and dentils along the roofline. The Chicago-style windows, comprised of one glass pane flanked by two narrower ones, with transoms above, are noteworthy. Also unusual is Stephenson's lady of justice; unlike most such symbols, she is not depicted as blind.
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 2000

Bee County courthouse  dome Beeville, Texas
 
Goddess of Justice on the clock tower
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2006
Bee County courthouse, Beeville, Texas
Bee County Courthouse as it appeared in 1913
Photo courtesy THC
Beeville Texas A4 Aircraf
A4 display on courthouse lawn
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2006
Beeville TX - 1908 View North from Courthouse
View of Business Section From Top of Courthhouse in Beeville
Postcard ca 1908 courtesy of William Beauchamp

The 1879 Bee County Courthouse
Beeville, Texas

The 1879 Bee County Courthouse Beeville TX
The 1879 Bee County Courthouse
Postcard courtesy William Beauchamp

See Beeville, Texas
Bee County
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