The current Tarrant County courthouse, as it was under construction in 1894-1895.

The existing Tarrant County courthouse, as it was beneath building in 1894-1895.

Jack White Assortment, Exclusive Collections, UTA Library

Courthouses allow and report several features of our life. They are the county’s centre of authorities, housed in buildings that express a perception of majesty, authority and permanence. Tarrant County, set up on Dec. 20, 1849, has experienced at the very least a few or 4 long term courthouses – depending on how you depend – and a quantity of temporary types.

Birdville, or existing-working day Haltom City, was the initially county seat. There are no pictures of the initially courthouse, whilst it was a very simple wooden structure. In early 1856, about the time that bids had been solicited for a everlasting two-tale brick courthouse in Birdville, an effort was underway to move the county seat to Fort Value. Birdville pushed in advance, laying the basis and contracting with W. S. Suggs to “burn the brick,” but by no means finished the building.

Fort Well worth scarcely received the 1856 county seat election, but the controversy was hashed out in the courts all through the late 1850s ahead of currently being determined in Fort Worth’s favor in 1860. County operations moved to a temporary courthouse in Fort Truly worth. In March 1860, a Houston newspaper claimed that Fort Worth had a “good and commodious courthouse” below building. The Civil War and economic ailments intervened, and the courthouse was not concluded until finally September of 1869. It was a easy, about sq., two-story stone constructing with a small cupola.

Courthouse No. 4
Stone courthouse in Fort Worthy of, finished in September 1869. It burned on March 29, 1876. D. D. Morse, Fort Worthy of, Tarrant Co. Texas (depth), 1876 Amon Carter Museum of American Artwork, reward of Mr. and Mrs. Will F. Collins

On March 23, 1876, the Fort Truly worth Democrat documented that an audit evaluating county operations advised the creating of a fireproof vault to protect county records. Significantly less than a 7 days later on, on March 29, the courthouse burned, cutting down most of the documents to ashes. The county operated out of a momentary picket creating though a new courthouse was created and produced.

The new octagonal, two-tale courthouse experienced 4 wings with a curved tin dome and cupola. The key courtroom occupied the central section of the second ground and experienced tall windows giving mild, although the wings and initially ground held places of work.

Courthouse No. 2
The 1877 courthouse. Lawrence T. Jones III Texas Images DeGolyer Library, SMU.

J. H. Ryan provided the first design and style when Thomas & Werner served as contractors, with Daniel O’Flaherty as the supervising architect. All 4 males referred to as by themselves architects, foreshadowing trouble. The courthouse was occupied, though not but done, by September of 1877.

Though handsome, the creating turned out to be a overall mess. It leaked, and a great deal of the construction perform was shoddy. A Dallas newspaper sarcastically advised that the building could possibly provide as a courthouse if entirely rebuilt. By March of 1881 James J. Kane, Fort Worth’s initially resident architect, was hired to style and design a substitute for the leaky roof.

In August 1881, the old dome was taken off and by early 1882 experienced been replaced by a “handsome mansard story” that provided extra “attic” rooms. The new bell tower featured 4 clocks, every single 8-ft in diameter.

Courthouse No. 3
The 1877 courthouse with its new mansard roof, finished in early 1882. Courtesy Tarrant County Archives

Finally Tarrant County outgrew this setting up, and in 1893 the county commissioners sold bonds to assemble a new courthouse. That creating, created by Kansas Metropolis architects Gunn and Curtiss and crafted in 1894-95, is the courthouse we know and appreciate nowadays – restored and standing proud on the bluff overlooking the Trinity River.

Carol Roark is an archivist, historian, and author with a distinctive curiosity in architectural and photographic historical past who has prepared a number of publications on Fort Worth background.

Linked tales from Fort Truly worth Star-Telegram