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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 party today.

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 great state.

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, farm.

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.  


  1. Wayne -

    Congrats on completing the 254 Texas courthouses. I enjoyed being along for over 200 of them - it was fun !!!!

    Have a God blessed day - dave b.