BASTROP COUNTY COURTHOUSE HISTORY
Dedication of Restoration Project
Celebration honoring all Bastrop County Veterans & Troops
July 4th Celebration
DETAILED ACCOUNT OF COURTHOUSE SITE
1829-Felipe Enrique Neri, Baron de Bastrop died. Permanent settlement began
1832-Grant for the town of Bastrop was made consisting of four leagues on
East side of the Colorado River at San Antonio Road.
1836-3/17 Bastrop was one of the original 23 counties created. Population: 592
1836-Name change from Mina back to Bastrop
1836-County purchased building on lot (for the price of a slave girl and
Mule) from William Pickney Hill, restored and used them as Courthouse
And clerk's office
1843-Stout stockade was a necessity on the site of the present Courthouse
And when an "Indian alarm" was sounded by two small canons, the women,
Children, and old men rushed in while the able bodied men and boys
Scoured the county or met the Indians in their hiding place. Stockade
Was made of heavy logs implanted in the ground with loopholes for guns
1848-Courthouse, Jail, and Female Academy to be built by proclamation
1852-Site of Courthouse, block 7 east of Main Street, was purchased for
$700 from Thomas T. J. Gazley, a signer of the Texas Declaration of
Independence. Woden Courthouse built by Mr. Fitzgerald on present
Site. Courthouse stone foundation 50'x50' square with two
Stories, each 12' height, hip roof, hard pine interior and exterior
Contents of Courthouse cornerstone include: rusty box, 1843
Silver dollar, 1850 half dollar, 1850 quarter, and 1851 dime.
1859-Construction of first jail separate from Courthouse on present site
Completed, including residence for sheriff's family
1859-Public well to built in May on Courthouse grounds
1872-January, New roof installed,
1872-September, Wood fence built.
1874-January, Shade trees planted.
1878-Cistern and lightning rods to be installed
1878-November, Grand Jury room built in courtyard
1883-1/11, Courthouse burned down
1883-February, Advertised for Courthouse plans in Houston and Galveston
1883-6/29, Cornerstone laid by Ganble Lodge #214, A.F.&A.M., Grandmaster
Joseph D. Sayers officiating. Numerous relics were
Placed in cornerstone, such as full membership of the Gamble Lodge
Names and offices of Bastrop County officials and copies of the Bastrop
Advertiser and American Statesman. Address by Hon. G. W. Jones stated
That the burning was a " blessing in disguise, for from its ruins would
Spring a structure which all people can feel just and lasting pride".
Courthouse to be built on single site for $30,000 budget, although
Ruffini estimated the building to be worth at $45,000 despite its
$33,000 actual cost to the county. Contract was signed by
Bastrop County Judge Moore and builder John McDonald. Plans prepared by
J. N. Preston & F. E. Ruffini "expert architect and superintendent."
1,383,512 bricks used. Most material for Courthouse supplied from Austin.
All caps and sills to doors and windows are Austin cut stone. "When
Finished, it was an architectural masterpiece, unrivaled anywhere in the
State." No plaster, but fine paneled ceiling with deeply projected,
Highly molded ribs (beaded board ceiling. Main staircase of black walnut
Unrivaled. Extra high wainscoting in courtroom and paneled ceiling to
Make finest district courtroom in the state. Blinds in all windows
Bronze hardware, encaustic tile floors, and several water closets will
Be first class. Dome was galvanized iron (fire proof), and roof was
14" charcoal roofing tin. Double thick glass, three coats of paint
everywhere. Dome of elegant design with exterior galleries and balustrade
clock to cost $600. Porticos = stone steps, cast iron balustrade, cast
iron columns with Corinthian caps, galvanized iron cornices, balcony
railing urns. "No better porticos in the state"
1883-7/7, Building description; Grand staircase to left upon entry.At
time of construction, staircase thought to be finest in state (black)
walnut); County Clerk's office to right upon entry: District Clerk to
left upon entry. County and District Clerk's office each were 88'-2"
x20'-0" (in extreme size): each has private office of 19'6" x 22'-4"
and each clerk's office has a large fire proof vault. Passing through
arcade of the interior section of the grand halls, the Treasurer's office
is on the left and collector's office is on the right. From the longi
tudinal area entered the offices of the assessor and sheriff. At one end
of the hall is a private stair for use and convenience of district judge,
clerk, and sheriff to conduct prisoners to the district courtroom. This
feature we deem of great importance. Treasurer's office: 20'-4" x 21'-0"
Assessor's office 20'-4" x 16'-2". Sheriff's office: 20'-0" x 16'-6".
Upstairs to right: district courtroom; to left is county courtroom.
Third story is grand jury room, surveyor's office, extra jury rooms,
"classic style with dome supported by Corinthian columns and galvanized
iron balustrade, and spun zinc. Skyline of the roof is beautifully
broken and relieved by the introduction of four pediments as gables and
pavilions at the four angles; also two louvers at the ridge line. Length
105'-0", Width 65'-0". Height 101'-0"
1886-5/10, "Sayers Rifles" military organization were allowed to use a room
in the Courthouse for an armory.
1891-Contract for construction of new jail designed by Architect Eugene Heimer
of Houston, built by Martin, Byrne & Johnson, and jail cells contract
awarded to the Pauly Jail Company. Total cost was $15,312
1892-Windmill built on Courthouse grounds.
1892-6/10, One of first of several accounts of hanging inside the new jail.
1894-May, New roof on Courthouse.
1894-Water contract with Bastrop Water & Light Company
1897-Lighting contract with Bastrop Water & Light Company
1898-July, Roof to be painted
1899-Old wood fence removed
1900-Telephone installed in Courthouse
1903-Iron fence built
1904-Stable built for sheriff
1909-Contract with Bastrop Water and Light to furnish utilities for
Jail, and Fountains
1917-November, New floors laid in Courthouse
1923-Prior to 1923 modification, there were four entrances with stone steps,
case iron balustrade, and cast iron columns with foliated Corinthian
capitals. No plaster used in the interior. (Nine sheets of drawings
dated 16 July 1923) C. H. Page & Bros. Of Austin designed revisions
costing $45,000. Work included "new north and south portion to match
west entrance, new plaster over exterior brick walls, continuous copper
cornice, new interior wood doors, new copper clad dome using existing
clock with new lights, new interior wood toilet partitions, new interior
wood staircase, new exterior boiler house at southwest corner of building
and new metal roof to equal "Taylors Old Style Tin"
1923-October, Hall floors of Courthouse to be of concrete
Courthouse dome lowered to modernize, removal of more decorative material
1925-Jail extensively remodeled by Southern Steel Company of San Antonio
1934-Gas heat pipes installed in Courthouse and Jail; paint on Courthouse
1936-Bastrop American Legion place long range field artillery guns on the
Courthouse lawn, Baron de Bastrop monument erected
1941-Plans for Agricultural Building in Courthouse yard authorized
Third floor of Courthouse to be used as jury dormitory and Negro jury
Room with bathrooms along edge
1941-12/8, United States flag purchased for Courthouse
1942-German machine guns and iron fence donated to U.S. government war effort
1944-Sidewalk around Courthouse
1945-County purchases annex for Courthouse from USO
1946-Plans accepted and bids notice published for annex designed by PSP
order rejecting bids. Architects paid for plans
1947-USO building on Courthouse grounds purchased
1953-Annex burned (caused by defective wiring).
Direction of County Judge Bower Crider voted to build an adjoining
Annex to the Courthouse, reinforce the Courthouse where necessary,and
Repaint offices in soft pastel tones and halls in gray. Colors used
In rooms include eye-rest green, rose tan, suntone, stratosphere gray,
Warm gray, and blue. Asphalt tile flooring was added throughout and
Woodwork cleaned and refinished. PSP designed Courthouse addition and
Was constructed by James H. Jones Contractor. Among additions
Work, interior work of public restrooms in Courthouse completed.
Annex is light colored brick with central heat and "completely air
Conditioned." "Running ice water is another convenience available,
And a modern, roomy basement."
1964-Texas Historical Commission designates Bastrop County Courthouse a
National Register Site
1972-2/23, Report of jailbreak of 4 men and new regulations regarding
safety standards and prisoner welfare concerns prompt the immediate
planning of contruction of new modular jail.
1973-2/132, Contract with Barnes, Lades, and Goodman for District
1974-Capital Construction Co, Austin, Texas, contract for District Court
building; funding through revenue sharing. New Bastrop Co. Public Safety
building financed 75% grant from Texas Criminal Justice Council and
Cleaning, painting, and repair of exterior, Windows painted and cleaned,
Halls painted inside Courthouse. Some offices will get new vinyl floors
And carpet. "The finish on the outside will match the two new buildings
In the Courthouse complex"
1975-Bastrop City Hall has map of 1921 showing buildings on the Courthouse
1982-Expansion of County Tax Assessor Collector and County Clerk office
space, meeting room, and first elevator in Bastrop County for handicap
access. Designed by Chuck Leonard of Smithville, including handicap
access ramp at south entrance at 9.5% construction cost fee
1990-Restoration Project to Courthouse and Old Jail building.