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Texas | Architecture | Courthouses

Lamar County Courthouse
County Seat - Paris, Texas

Lamar County has had six courthouses:
1841, 1844 (the first in Paris), 1847, 1873, 1897 and 1917.

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Paris Texas restored 1917 Lamar County courthouse
Lamar County Courthouse
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark
Terry Jeanson, June 2007 photo

The Present Lamar County Courthouse
- Paris, Texas

Date: 1917
Architect: Barry & Smith and Sanguinet & Staats
Style: Classical Revival with Romanesque detail
Material: Built from marble and granite cleaned from the burned 1897 courthouse, the pink granite is from the same quarry as the State Capital.
See Historical Marker

An interior and exterior restoration of Lamar County courthouse was completed in 2005.
Lamar County courthouse 1939 old photo, Paris Texas
Lamar County Courthouse as it appeared in 1939
Photo courtesy TXDoT
Historical Marker:

Lamar County Courthouse

The March 1916 fire that left downtown Paris in ruins ravaged Lamar County's massive 1897 Romanesque courthouse and tower, once thought indestructible. On April 20, 1916, the Lamar County Commissioners Court chose local designers and builders William G. Barry, Edwin R. Smith and Elmer George Withers to work with the Fort Worth architectural firm of Sanguinet & Staats to design a new courthouse. The county judge and commissioners court and Carl G. Staats reviewed the designs of several courthouses around the state.

Some
Paris residents requested that the new courthouse be built in the center of its lot in keeping with the city's plans for wide roads at the town square, but the court decided that it would be more efficient to build the new structure upon the same foundation as the old courthouse. The upper ruins of the old courthouse were dismantled by July 1916. In late August the commissioners chose J. C. Buchanan and J. N. Gilder of Fort Worth, who did significant work in rebuilding Paris after the fire, to serve as contractors. Construction began in September. By that time the restoration and renovation of several other buildings around the square was nearing completion, downtown Paris took on a modern appearance.

Completed by November 1917, the new courthouse was built of fireproof concrete covered by rough pink granite salvaged from the 1897 building. Distinctive features of the imposing Classical edifice include corner pavilions and engaged granite columns and the Classical cornice with matching terra cotta ornament (notably eagles and medallions). Marked by triple-arched porticos, the primary entrances echo the Romanesque style of the original structure.
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark-2000
Lamar County Courthouse East entrance triple arches, Paris Texas
Triple arched entrance facing Main Street (BUS 271.)
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, June 2007
Paris TX Lamar County Courthouse Lamppost Eagles
Lamppost with open-winged eagles at its base over the Houston street entrance.
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, June 2007
Lamar County courthouse, Paris, Texas
Lamar County Courthouse historic image
L - Lamar County Courthouse
R - Lamar County Courthouse before the 1916 fire

Old postcards

The 1897 Lamar County Courthouse

 1897 Lamar County Courthouse, Paris Texas
This photo of the 1897 Lamar County courthouse hangs in a display case on the fourth floor of the current courthouse. The fourth floor jail in the courthouse was vacated in 1993 and converted into office space. Terry Jeanson, June 2007
Photographer's Note:
Although Kelsey's book lists the previous courthouse as 1896, the historical marker in front of the courthouse says 1897.
Post Office mural "Rebuilding of paris" shows old courthouse
Detail of "Rebuilding of Paris" Mural by Jerry Bywaters showing the 1897 courthouse. TE photo, 2009
A tin-type of Lamar County Courthouse, Paris, Texas
A tin-type of Lamar County Courthouse
Photo courtesy Mark Armstrong
 
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