I’m often asked what my favorite Texas County Courthouses are. That’s a difficult question, but I’ll try to answer it here. As I rode through the state, I kept a running list of courthouses that I really liked, and it ran to about 60. I’ve included nearly 30 of them in this post. The list below is not in any particular order, except for the first five.
A couple things to keep in mind: I’m not a great photographer. Some of the photos I have here do not do justice to what was visible to the naked eye, so my preferences owe a lot to what I saw with my own eyes, not just what I shot with a camera. This includes how the courthouse first appears in view. In some cases, you can see the courthouse from a mile or more away, and this is part of the experience of encountering the courthouse in its context.
Finally, remember this Latin phrase: De gustibus non est disputandum (“you can’t argue over taste”).
- Number One goes to Hopkins County. When I came upon this courthouse, I was just spellbound by the rich detail. I’m including two more here that are very similar in style: Ellis County and Wise County. But for me, Hopkins tops them all.
2. Number Two is Parker County. The contrast of the clean white stone and the bold red trim and roof can be seen from more than a mile away as you drive in on US-180. The courthouse sits in the middle of a traffic roundabout, so I had to get this shot across the street in a parking lot. The clouds against the blue sky just add to the magnificence of this view.
3. Number Three is Denton County. This is another one that you can see from several blocks away with its many domes and cupolas. I’m not super happy with the shot I got here, but it was a busy weekend day with lots of people enjoying the square.
4. Number Four goes to Harrison County. Some people mention this as their favorite, and I can’t argue with that. The reason it’s not number 1 for me is that it is not the actual functioning Harrison County courthouse. It serves as a museum. The current courthouse is across the street and falls far short of this classic.
5. Number Five belongs to Presidio County. Unfortunately for me, there was a street festival going on when I arrived. I had to sneak around a traffic barrier even to get this shot, and there’s a trash can and a traffic cone in the view. But it’s a beauty.
The courthouses that follow are not presented in any significant order, but they are all worthy runners up.
I arrived at the Victoria County courthouse as the light was fading. The best view would have been to the left where the setting sun was hitting it directly, but I couldn’t pass up shooting the front of the courthouse for this record.
The Goliad County courthouse might make a challenge for top 5 if the stone was cleaned.
My photo of the Cuero County courthouse suffered from a couple things. First is the power lines in the view at the top. But second is that the sun was facing me, so the lighting was not ideal. The rich colors of this beautiful courthouse came out better on the backside of the courthouse, but other aspects of the backside made it not the best side to shoot.
San Saba County gets a spot here not only because it is a beautiful courthouse just a short ride from my home, but it has just recently received a facelift that makes it look like new.