A Brief History and Photos
The Lampasas County Courthouse was constructed in 1883 and is the work of noted Waco architect W. C. Dodson. From the escapades of the Horrell brothers outlaw gang to the commercial success of the mineral springs and bathhouses after the arrival of the railroad line from Galveston in 1882—Lampasas Texas had a rich and diverse early history. Please read this short story and enjoy the images below. Click these images to see larger versions.
The Lampasas County Courthouse
The Lampasas County Courthouse was constructed in 1883 from plans provided by Waco architect W. C. Dodson. The Lampasas courthouse is similar in many ways to other Dodson-designed courthouses in Hill, Hood, and Parker counties. The Lampasas County Courthouse was the first of the four to be built. The county courthouse in Lampasas is smaller, both in overall size and height of the central tower, compared to these other buildings. The scale of this building, however, in no way detracts from its grandness.
The courthouse is constructed of native limestone. Two opposing faces of the building feature five-bay composition and the remaining two faces three-bay composition. The vertical composition of the exterior of the courthouse gives the strong impression of a two-story structure. In fact, the interior features three floors with long windows spanning and lighting the second and third stories. The National Register narrative describes the building as having a mansard roof. The mansard roof treatment of this courthouse is certainly of very limited height and is topped by a hip roof.
The interior of the Lampasas County Courthouse shares many features with the Parker County Courthouse. The first floor of the courthouse is roughly divided into quarters by intersecting halls lined with doorways entering into county offices. The staircases are made of wood. Unlike Parker county though, the Lampasas courthouse has a narrow staircase at one end of the building. At the other end a double staircase is nearly identical to one in the Parker County Courthouse. The second floor contains the old District Courtroom. The ceiling of this courtroom must be over twenty feet high. The walls and ceiling are covered with pressed tin and painted green with red and gold accents. There’s no balcony in the District Courtroom. There is however a panel of windows on a third-story landing where people can stand and look into the courtroom.
In a jury deliberation room on the third floor, the Seth Thomas movement for the tower clock is on display. Prior to the restoration of the courthouse in 2004, this mechanical device resided on the first floor. The clock tower itself is modest but elegant.
The courthouse lawn is spacious and fenced. The distance to the surrounding buildings on the town square is considerable. Notably missing are signs, curbs, and parking meters. The uncrowded and uncluttered town square may be a relic of times gone by—when the distinction between parking lot and road wasn’t quite so clear, and horses were the more common means of transportation.
The Lampasas County Chamber of Commerce – http://www.lampasaschamber.org/
Copyright © 2009 by Sam Fenstermacher
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