As a Homicide sergeant with the Houston PD almost 30yrs,if you had told me then that I would be traveling to different courthouses I'd have told you "You'er crazy!" I had spent a lot of time in courthouses waiting to testify and a courthouse was no place I wanted to be. That changed after I visited Anderson, Texas and discovered the history associated with them.So began a quest to photograph all 254 county courthouses.
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Saturday, July 25, 2015
Day 4: Last Four Counties; Fossils, Longhorns, and Home.
We spent the night in Lubbock
and we were up early the next morning.
We had a great breakfast and we were off to see the last four counties on
my list. We would stay on US82 the
entire morning as we traveled west. My
thanks to David Billingsley for navigating and laying out an efficient route
that resulted in our doubling back on the same road only once. That was
yesterday. We did return to Lubbock
because it was the closest big town that had acceptable hotels from which to
choose. Our day’s journey took us around
Lubbock on the loop and west on US82.
The first county we came to was Crosby. The Crosby County seat is
Crosbyton. We got there literally before
anyone was awake and we had the courthouse square to ourselves.
The courthouse was built in
1914 in Texas Renaissance style with Classical columns forming a portico (that’s
front porch in architecture language).
Crosby County was organized in 1886 and it is named after Stephen
Crosby, who was a member of the Know-Nothing party. Sounds like both the Republican and Democrat
Across the street from the
courthouse we saw and interesting sign, “Mount Blanco Fossil Museum.” We had to check this out.
“The Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum
is a scientific and educational institution dedicated to a correct
interpretation of Earth history and fossil remains. We believe that the fossil
record speaks of catastrophic events happening several thousand years ago
rather than slow processes taking place over millions or billions of years as
is held by the popular establishment.” I
walked over to the museum and could see plaster paris molds of tusks, creatures
and fossils. It was closed or I would
have paid the $5 admission to go inside.
On to the next county, Dickens.
The Dickens County courthouse
is a Romanesque Revival building built in 1893 and designed by E. I. Aiken and
built of stone. It has been remodeled
twice which has really altered its appearance.
Originally, it had a hipped roof and tower with stone chimneys. This courthouse screams out for restoration. At least they didn’t demolish the original!
Continuing westward, we came
to Gutherie, county seat of King County.
This courthouse was built in 1914 in the Texas Renaissance style. I’ve included the historical marker for
details. King County is home to the huge
6666 ranch, one of the largest in Texas.
another relic of a dream
The terrain is more or less flat but there are occasional rolling hills.
We continued west to the town
of Benjamin, county seat of Knox County.This is #254, the last courthouse on my list.The courthouse is a 1935 Moderne-style built
of stone.It is a very typical courthouse
built in the 1930’s.I decided to go
inside and while taking some interior photos I met the Knox County Judge,
Travis C. Floyd.Judge Floyd asked if I
wanted to photograph the courtroom, to which I replied, “Yes, sir.”He graciously turned on the lights and staged
the room for the photo.Next, I met the
local Justice of the Peace, Augustin Rodriguez.He was also gracious and extended to me any courtesy that I needed to
finish with the courthouse. I thought both men are what makes Texas such a
From Benjamin we traveled
south and passed through the small town of Rule, Texas. I found some wall murals and an old tractor
to photograph. From Rule, we continued
south toward Abilene, our starting point.
Along the way we drove up on a herd of longhorn cattle. At 75 mph it took me a while to stop and turn
around and go back. When we got back to
the spot the longhorns had headed to a water tank. Undaunted, I found a cross dirt road and
drove down it until I saw the longhorns again.
As I expected as soon as I got out of the car, the cattle began walking
toward me. I took several photos of the
huge animals and we continued our journey south.
I stopped once more watching
a Case tractor pull a plow across a field.
The scene just summed up what a lot of people do in this part of Texas,
On the trip home we stopped
at two county seats I had already photographed, Hamilton County, in Hamilton,
Texas and Coryell County in Gatesville, Texas.
I was able to get some better photos than the ones on previous visit.
Coryell County Courthouse
After taking David home and
driving back to my home in Cypress we had logged 2611 miles in four days
zigzagging across the Texas Panhandle.