Courthouse TV: County's courthouse to be featured in special television series

Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor

Kim Lykins (center), executive director of the Texas Foundation for the Arts, discusses the historical significance of the recently-restored Hopkins County Courthouse with Hopkins County Judge Cletis Millsap (left) while producer Jim Bailey, of Sunset Productions of Houston, videotapes the interview. The courthouse will be featured in the second of two documentary programs on Texas' historic courthouses to be aired on Public Broadcasting System stations later this year.
Staff photo by Kerry Craig

April 2, 2004 -- Hopkins County's recently restored courthouse will be featured later this year in a special television series produced by Texas Foundation for the Arts and the Public Broadcasting System's channel 8 in Houston.

Kim Lykins, executive director for Texas Foundation for the Arts, and Jim Bailey, of Sunset Productions in Houston, were in Sulphur Springs this week filming the courthouse and talking with Hopkins County Judge Cletis Millsap about the historic structure and its significance to the county.

"We are working on a two-part documentary film series titled "The Golden Age of Texas Courthouses," Lykins said. "We were interviewing Judge Millsap for episode two, which will be shown later this year."

Lykins said Hopkins County came to their attention last year, and the unique architecture of the courthouse demanded a place in the documentary program.

"We first came to this courthouse when it was under renovation last year and fell in love with it. It's a beautiful courthouse -- tremendous architectural interests -- and we were very interested in all the work being done," she said. "It's a J. Riley Gordon [the architect] and his work is wonderful."

Many of the county courthouses in the state are historically significant and efforts to retain the historic beauty is, according to the arts foundation, a wonderful effort worthy of preserving on video.

"What we are talking about, as far as these films go, is the importance of preserving these historic buildings," Lykins said. "Throughout Texas there is a wonderful movement afoot to have these county courthouses restored."

Not only does Texas have a large number of historical courthouses, the state also has a majority of Victorian architecture in the nation.

"Texas has, according to Texas Historical Commission, the largest collection of Victorian architecture in the country," Lykins said. "These courthouses represent that, and the importance of preserving the past is especially important for these counties that are able to do this. People have a strong attachment to their courthouses, and we are happy to show them as many as we can in 30 minutes."

Jim Bailey also has a strong love for Texas courthouses, and the current project has been in the works for quite a while, and, Lykins said, the foundation has been able to secure funding for it. Lykins said the first television segment featuring Texas courthouses will air first in Houston later this month and will become available to other PBS stations afterwards.

Dallas PBS station KERA will have the opportunity to pick up the series for broadcast in this area.

Older Archives

Looking for News-Telegram Sports and News Archives for January 2004 - November 2008