Historic Texas Courthouses: Sale of glorious book to benefit genealogical society

BY TERRY MATHEWS | News-Telegram Arts Editor

Mar. 22, 2007 - Author and former congressman Mike Andrews (25th District 1983-1994) has released an impressive collection of photographs and brief stories about 100 of Texas’ most historic county seats. 

Historic Texas Courthouses
Michael Andrews
276 pp. Bright Sky Press. $49.95.

His “Historic Texas Courthouses,” which debuted in November of last year, is everything a big picture book should be and more. From the cover shot of the Hill County courthouse, destroyed by fire in 1993, then rebuilt and reopened in 1999, to the brilliant color photos and brief courthouse histories, this book is a must-have for anyone interested in the rich and storied buildings that our county seats call home.

Andrews has chosen to spotlight 100 courthouses in this coffee table tome. He’s given the reader much to absorb. The book is complete with a list of courthouses Andrews says belong to “The Golden Age,” “A New Century,” and “Texas Moderne.” The back of the book also contains a helpful glossary of architectural terms and a lengthy bibliography. 

Hopkins County’s grand structure (James Riely Gordon, Architect–1863-1937) is represented on pages 108-111, with six photographs and an explanation of why the tower has never housed a clock. There’s even a bit about how the architect added a winding stairwell leading from right under the district judge’s chair on the second floor to the basement, allowing for a speedy exit, just in case.

Franklin County’s courthouse (1912–Leslie L. Thurmon & Co Architects–Dallas) is featured on pages 182-183. The story of how Mount Vernon residents lobbied for their town to be the county seat is quite interesting, horse races and all. 

Kudos to Paul Hester and Lisa Hardaway for their brilliant color pictures throughout the book. The pair seems to have captured the very essence of these grand buildings, some of which have withstood more than just the passing of time.

Andrews’ love letter to our historic courthouses would make a great Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, anniversary, birthday or Christmas gift. It would also make a terrific “treat yourself” present for your home.

Copies of “Historic Texas Courthouses” are being offered for $54.07 ($49.95 + $4.12 tax) at the Texas Heritage Bookshop, 212 Main Street, with proceeds from the sale benefitting various projects of the Hopkins County Genealogical Society. For more information, please contact Rita Adams at 903-885-4715.

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