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  • Texas | Architecture | Courthouses

    THE COTTLE COUNTY COURTHOUSE
    County Seat - Paducah, Texas

    Cottle County has had three courthouses: 1892, 1894 and 1930
    See Historical Marker

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    Cottle County courthouse, Paducah, Texas
    The 1930 Cottle County courthouse today
    Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, September 2007

    Cottle County Courthouse
    - Paducah, Texas

    Date: 1930
    Architect: Voelcker and Dixon
    Style: Art-Moderne
    Material: Brick and terra cotta
    Recorded Texas Historic Landmark

    Although the style is Moderne, there are enough Classical elements as well as Art Deco details to make it interesting.
    Historical Marker Text

    Cottle County Courthouse

    The Texas Legislature created Cottle County in 1876 and named it for George Washington Cottle, who died defending the Alamo forty years earlier. Stage routes connected early ranches, including the OX, SMS, and Matador, to established towns in other counties. In late 1891, settlers petitioned for the county to be organized, and an election in January 1892 formalized Cottle County's boundaries.

    A geographically central site was selected as county seat and named for Paducah, Kentucky, hometown of settler Richard Potts. County business was conducted in existing homes until a permanent courthouse, a small one-story frame building, was finished in May 1892. That was replaced in November 1894 with a two-story brick building, with a prominent bell tower, designed by J. A. White.

    The Cottle County economy flourished, and in April 1929, county commissioners awarded a contract for a new courthouse to architect C. H. Leinbach. Four days later, they rescinded that order and the citizens voted on $150,000 in courthouse bonds, a measure that failed outside Paducah but passed in the city and carried overall. The county gave a new contract to the Wichita Falls firm of Voelcker and Dixon, designers of 11 courthouses across Texas. In the fall of 1929, work began here on one of the premier Art Deco style courthouses in the state, a four-story brick and terra cotta building that looms over the square. Stepped blocks project from a central mass, with carved eagles, stylized figures of justice and liberty, and inscriptions above each of four entries. The unusual design, which has drawn comparison to an Egyptian temple, makes it one of the most distinctive public buildings in the region.

    Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 2005
    Cottle County courthouse, Paducah, Texas old photo
    Cottle County Courthouse as it appeared in 1939
    Photo courtesy TXDoT
    Photographer's Note
    "Each of the four entrances to the courthouse have inscriptions above them. The north and south side entrances have stylized figures of justice and liberty at the rooftop." - Terry Jeanson
    Cottle County courthouse inscription, Paducah, Texas

    Inscription above the south side entrance: "To no one will we sell, deny or delay justice."
    - Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, September 2007

    Cottle County courthouse inscription, Paducah, Texas

    Inscription above the north side entrance: "He who comes here must come with clean hands."
    Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, September 2007

    Cottle County courthouse inscription, Paducah, Texas
    The inscription on the east side entrance: "He who seeks equity must do equity."
    Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, September 2007
    Cottle County courthouse inscription, Paducah, Texas
    The inscription on the west side entrance: "There is nothing so powerful as truth."
    Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, September 2007
    Cottle County courthouse eagle, Paducah, Texas
    Courthouse eagle
    Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, September 2007
    More Texas Eagles
    Paducah TX Cottle County Courthouse Courtroom

    "My tour guide told me that the courtroom is no longer in use and that visitors have absconded with several of the rooms doorknobs as souvenirs."
    - Terry Jeanson, September 2007

    Cottle County courthouse cornerstone, Paducah, Texas
    The 1930 Cottle County courthouse cornerstone
    Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, September 2007
    More Texas Cornerstones
    1894 Cottle County Courthouse - Paducah, Texas
    "[A] two-story brick building, with a prominent bell tower, designed by J. A. White."
    Paducah Texas - 1894 Cottle County Courthouse old post card
    The 1894 Cottle County Courthouse
    Photo courtesy THC
    Cottle County Forum
  • Subject: Update to Cottle County Courthouse
    To preserve the classic art deco architecture of the courthouse as well as nearby commercial buildings, the Cottle County courthouse and surrounding square have recently been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. - Greg Haviland, May 28, 2005

    Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories, and vintage/historic photos of their town/subject, please contact us.
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