BASTROP COUNTY COURTHOUSE HISTORY

Dedication of Restoration Project

Bastrop County

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.

1877-New Roof

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

newspapers.

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

Court Building.

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

LEA.

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

Square.

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.

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