The Erath County Courthouse in Stephenville was constructed in 1892 and is the work of noted architect J. Riely Gordon. Please read the short description and enjoy the images. Larger images can be seen by simply clicking on the smaller images below.
The Erath County Courthouse is a substantial three story edifice constructed of local white limestone and red Pecos sandstone. The tower of the building extends to a height of 95 feet, and the building’s base measures 60 by 80 feet.
This building presents a variation on a traditional theme in early Texas courthouses of intersecting halls on the first floor dividing the first floor space into four major areas. The twist is that the tower walls extend down through the center of the building creating an open central space on the first floor. This central space or atrium has no immediate ceiling and is open to the second and third floors.
Iron staircases on the east and west sides of the building provide access to the upper levels. On the second and third floors a gallery provide easy access to the district court room and the other offices. The district courtroom occupies the south side of the building on the second and third floors. This courtroom features a high ceiling that arches above to the third story balcony.
The Erath County Courthouse, the work of noted architect J. Riely Gordon, is a fine example of Romanesque Revival design. Use of the Roman Arch prevails on the exterior and interior of this edifice. The limestone walls that support the clock tower extend down through the building to the first floor. The result is a massive openness in the center of the building, and extensive use of stone for interior walls. Every significant opening in these stone walls, on all three stories is crowned with an arch. This arrangement of materials and space purveys an incredible feeling of strength and openness. Good natural lighting and ventilation also occur as a result of this J. Riely Gordon design.
The courthouse was constructed by contractor S.A. Tomlinson of Fort Worth for a contracted price of $59,173.00. On December 3, 1891 the white limestone cornerstone was laid in place by the Stephenville Masonic Lodge Number 267. The county received the building in 1892 and it has served its original purpose ever since.
The Erath County Courthouse underwent extensive restoration in 2002 and the work was completed in January of 2003.
100 W Washington St
Texas Historical Commission, Texas Historic Sites Atlas. http://atlas.thc.state.tx.us/, 2009.
Copyright © 2009 by Sam Fenstermacher
All rights reserved