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Texas Courthouses

POTTER COUNTY COURTHOUSE
County Seat - Amarillo, Texas

Potter County has had six courthouses:
1887, 1888, 1896, 1906, 1932 and the present
courthouse

Potter County Historical Markers

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Amarillo TX  - Present Potter County Courthouse
The "new" Potter County Courthouse (Potter County Courts Building.)
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, 2008

The Present Potter County Courthouse

"This modern-style, concrete and steel building was built between 1984 and 1986 and designed by architects Hucker & Pargé, A.I.A. and Ward-Brown Associates, A.I.A." - Terry Jeanson

Robert Potter was a Secretary of the Texas Navy and was Commander in charge of Galveston. The Spanish gave Amarillo its name, by naming a nearby creek for the Spanish word for yellow.
Historical Marker on courthouse grounds - 500 block of S. Taylor St.:

Establishing of Potter County

Named for Robert Potter, Secretary of the Navy (1836) and Senator (1840-42) of the Republic of Texas. In territory ranged by Apache, Arapaho, Cheyenne, Comanche, and Kiowa Indians, and since 1600 familiar to Spanish military parties and French traders. On established routes of the Great Spanish Road from Santa Fe to San Antonio (1786) and the Fort Smith-Santa Fe Trail of 1840 which was followed in 1849 by California gold seekers. Although still uninhabited, the county was created in 1876 by Texas Legislature. The years 1874-78 saw Indians expelled and buffalo replaced by longhorns. In 1877 the famous LX Ranch was established, with headquarters 20 miles north of this site. The Frying Pan, first large ranch fenced with barbed wire, in 1881 built its headquarters 16 miles to the west. Railroad construction across the Texas Panhandle made local government desirable. LX and Frying Pan cowboys were the electors who voted on Aug. 30, 1887, to organize Potter County. This county was discovery site (1918) of the vast Panhandle-Hugoton Gas Field. It is noted as location of Alibates National Monument (established 1965), an aboriginal flint quarry, with ruins of prehistoric Indian villages inhabited as early as 10,000 B.C. (1970).
1936 Centennial Marker:

Potter County

Formed from Young and Bexar Territories; Created August 21, 1876; Organized August 30, 1887; Named in Honor of Robert Potter 1800-1842; Signer of the Declaration of Independence; Secretary of the Navy; Senator in the Texas Congress, 1840; Amarillo, County Seat

1932 Potter County Courthouse

Date: 1932
Architect: W.C. Townes of Townes, Lightfoot and Funk
of Amarillo
Styl: Art Deco
Material: Concrete and terra cotta

Recorded Texas Historic Landmark
Amarillo TX - 1932 Potter County Courthouse
West side of the 1932 Potter County courthouse facing Taylor Street
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, 2008
Historical Marker - 501 South Taylor, Amarillo:


Potter County Courthouse

Organized in August 1887, Potter County erected its first courthouse in 1888 in old town Amarillo. The building was constructed by Mays, Hightower, and Jackson for a cost of $191. Over the years, three more courthouses were built as Amarillo and Potter County grew. During the 1920's the Panhandle experienced an oil boom. As a result, business increased, the population of Amarillo nearly tripled, and eight sky scrapers were added to the city.

The fifth courthouse in Potter County, this building was designed by Architect W.C. Townes of Townes, Lightfoot and Funk of Amarillo. It was constructed at a cost of $420,000 in 1930-32 by Amarillo builder Charles Lambie. More than 500 laborers, residents of Potter County, applied to work on building the new courthouse.

The Potter County Courthouse is a fine local example of an art deco style institutional building. It exhibits stepped massing from its entrance pavilion to the top of the tower, and skillful use of details that include ornamental figural and botanical bas relief, symmetrical pilasters and metal casement windows.

Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1996
Amarillo TX - 1932 Potter County Courthouse
The East side of the courthouse facing Fillmore Street.
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, 2008
Amarillo TX - 1932 Potter County Courthouse details - blooming cactus
"Blloming Cactus" over the Potter County Courthouse entrance
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, 2008
Amarillo TX - 1932 Potter County Courthouse details - wolves, and jail windows
"The top of the central section on the north side depicts the heads of wolves, also duplicated on the south side. The windows with the bars denotes the location of the former county jail which was in use until 1988." - Terry Jeanson, 2008 photo
Amarillo TX - 1932 Potter County Courthouse details
"The top of the central section on the west side depicts a pioneer, two baying wolves and an Indian. These figures are duplicated on the east side as well." -
Terry Jeanson, 2008 photo
Amarillo TX - 1932 Potter County Courthouse details - Indian and wolve
Indian and wolve
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, 2008
Amarillo TX - 1932 Potter County Courthouse Longhorn
"The west and east side (show here) entrances have Art-Deco style chandeliers and cast-aluminum Longhorns over the doors." - Terry Jeanson, 2008 photo
Amarillo TX - 1932 Potter County Courthouse entrance
1932 Potter County Courthouse Entrance
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, 2008
Photographer's Note:
The west and east side (shown here) entrances have three panels over the doors with a written dedication. The middle panel reads, "To the Early Settlers of This County, This Building is Respectfully Dedicated." The left panel reads, "Their Efforts were Tireless," and the right panel reads "Their Courage was Undaunted."
- Terry Jeanson, 2008
Amarillo TX - 1932 Potter County Courthouse old photo
Potter County Courthouse as it appear in 1939
Photo courtesy TXDoT
Amarillo TX - 1932 Potter County Courthouse old postcard
Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/
1932 Potter County courthouse in Amarillo Texas
Postmaster tells Chicago Doctor about Amarillo's Courthouse Change:
"This building has been replaced by a new and very modern eight story courthouse." - (signed) Postmaster, Amarillo, Texas


Another view of the 1932 Potter County Courthouse
TE postcard archive
1932 Potter County courthouse  postcard back
1906 Potter County Courthouse
Amarillo, Texas -  1906 Potter County courthouse, old post card
1906 Potter County Courthouse
Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/
Amarillo Tx - 1906 Potter County Courthouse
1906 Potter County Courthouse
Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/
Amarillo Tx - 1906 Potter County Courthouse  and 1922 Potter County library
1906 Potter County courthouse (left)
and the 1922 Potter County library (right)
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, 2008

Photographer's Note:
"This photo of the 1906 Potter County courthouse (left) and the 1922 Potter County library (right) was taken in 1924 and is hanging in the first floor hallway of the 1932 courthouse. In 1915, the dome on the 1906 courthouse was removed and a fourth floor was added. The clocks from the removed dome were placed in the middle part of the roof on the sides of the building as seen in this picture." - Terry Jeanson, March 2008

1896 Potter County Courthouse
Amarillo TX - 1896 Potter County Courthouse drawing
Potter County Courthouse
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, 2008
Photographer's Note:
This drawing of the 1896 Potter County courthouse is hanging in the first floor hallway of the 1932 courthouse.

The caption below the drawing reads as follows:
This building is courthouse number three (3.) It was built in 1896 and is located at 5th and Bowie. It still stands today. The tower and third floor have been removed and the building has been used by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles in the past. - Terry Jeanson, March 2008

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