courthouse aficionado goes inside Texas' favorite buildings to find
love letters in oil and canvas - and watercolor -and pencil -and crayon...
"The old adage, "don't judge a book by its cover," is something that
can be applied to many (not all) of the bland and unattractive modern
or "modernized" courthouses around Texas. I am always pleased to enter
these courthouses and find historical photos and artwork, particularly
drawings or paintings of previous courthouses. These images and works
of art are also found in older, historical courthouses that have been
restored over the years, but certain restrictions (by the Texas Historical
Commission) keep them from displaying many of these items in their
hallways. Sometimes, these paintings are not in an obvious location
and on occasion I've had to peek into various offices to find them
or ask for assistance to gain access to locked courtrooms to see and
photograph them. Fortunately, in my case, most of the courthouse employees
have been very helpful and gracious and very happy to show me around
or inform me of paintings displayed in other locations like the town
bank, library or historical museum. For all you courthouse enthusiasts
out there, try not to judge a courthouse by its cover. You never know
what you'll find inside." - Terry
Angelina County courthouse designed by architect James Riely Gordon.
This painting, by artist Audrey Midford, is hanging in the county
clerk's office in the current courthouse. December, 2007 photo.
|An oil painting
of the 1889 Aransas County courthouse displayed in the lobby of the
current courthouse. April 2005 photo.
of the 1884 Baylor County courthouse hanging in the county clerk's
office of the current courthouse. The dome was added after the original
clock tower was removed. April 2006 photo
of the 1882 Bexar County courthouse in a display case at the current
courthouse. April 2007 photo
of the 1886 Bosque County courthouse displayed in the Bosque County
Bank across from the courthouse. October 2005 photo
paintings of the 1891 Coke County courthouse with and without its
original tower. These and several other paintings of Coke County,
along with photos of all of the county's historical markers, line
the walls of the current courthouse." August 2006 photos
of the Dickens County courthouse in its original condition displayed
on the second floor of the current courthouse at the top of the stairs.
February 2007 photo.
of the 1904 Ector County courthouse displayed at east side entrance
of current courthouse. June 2006 photo
of old courthouse/jail and current Glasscock County courthouse displayed
in the lobby of the current courthouse. June 2006 photo
of an oil painting titled "Early Haskell" by George Kovach. It depicts
the Haskell County courthouse in its original condition. This picture
is hanging, not in the county courthouse, but in the Dairy Queen east
of the square." - September 2007 photo
oil painting of the Hood County courthouse by artist Marjorie Ross
is hanging in the county judge's office. February, 2008 photo
of 1883 Houston County courthouse displayed on second floor of the
current courthouse. February 2006 photo.
|This oil painting
of the 1887 Kaufman County courthouse hangs in the Carnegie Library
Museum in Terrell, TX. Dec. 2006 photo
of the current (1930) Midland County courthouse after its 1974 remodeling,
hanging in the lobby of the current courthouse. June 2006 photo.
Morris County Courthouse oil painting hangs in the current Morris
County courthouse. December 2006 photo.
of the 1885 Panola County courthouse by artist Stan Routh is hanging
in the county clerk's office of the current courthouse. December 2007
|This oil painting
of the 1916 Parmer County courthouse and jail is hanging in the first
floor of the courthouse. February 2007 photo
these oil paintings of the 1910 Smith County courthouse are on display
inside the old Smith County jail in Tyler. July 2007 Photo
|This oil painting
of the former 1911 Stonewall County courthouse hanging outside of
the district courtroom in the current courthouse. August 2006 Photo
of the 1906 Terry County courthouse, hanging in the lobby of the current
courthouse. It was 40 feet square and 24 feet high and the contracted
construction cost was $3800. February 2007.
of the 1891 Tyler County courthouse in its original condition is hanging
in the office of Tyler County Judge Jacques L. Blanchette. It was
painted by local artist Doretta Gilchrist. December, 2007 Photo
of the 1890 Wilbarger County courthouse hanging on the wall in the
front lobby of the current courthouse. April 2006 photo
of the 1908 Yoakum County courthouse hanging in the county auditor's
office of the current courthouse. Painting by Linda Powell, '81. February
The frequent contributions of courthouse (and jail) photos by San
Jeanson have long been appreciated by the staff here at Texas
Escapes. We were aware that the depth of Terry's interest went beyond
simple photo shoots. Jeanson can recall the styles, names of architects,
the number of courthouses a particular county has had, the removal
and replacement of towers, the statuary and even the locations of
the former courthouses. At this point we wouldn't be surprised to
find that he knew the names of the architect's children. What brought
us to "this point" was his recent letter in which he sent in photos
of this artwork to share with our readers. In some cases these paintings
are the only visual record of a building that disappeared from the
landscape long ago.
Jeanson has gone inside scores of courthouses, searching lobbies,
atriums, courtrooms and closets to see what was on (or off) the walls.
The selection shown here is the first of a series on "Courthouse Art."
If and when the state comes up with A Courthouse Bee (as in Spelling
Bee) Texas Escapes is sponsoring Terry.
Since the artist's signatures were not always present (or readable),
we ask the assistance of the people who see these painting regularly
to send in the artist's name so that credit may be given.