I was talking with my wife the other day and she asked, “How long has it been since you took a picture of a courthouse?” My immediate response was, “A long time.” Actually, 4 months. Then I decided to make this weekend a priority and go courthouse hunting.
I knew this weekend was forecast for Heat Advisories and riding in that heat would be brutal. So, a well thought out, well planned trip was a first step. As old as I am and as much traveling as I’ve done, I learned something recently. That the little blue dots on a Texas paper map mean Picnic Area. Picnic Areas never played a large part in my travel in the past, but with social distancing and COVID stuff they are very attractive places to stop and get out of the heat and away from the crowds. Looked at my paper map and decided to photograph the courthouses in Nacogdoches and Center, Texas. Straight up US 59 to Nacogdoches, then East on Texas 7 to Center. Should make for about a 4 – 5 hour ride and add two more courthouses to my list.
A little blue dot appeared about halfway between Nacogdoches and Center on Texas Highway 7, and with proper planning could make for a good lunch stop. So, I got my soft-cooler (the one that fits real nice in the side case of the BMW), made a sandwich, packaged some watermelon, and a couple of bottles of water. And I’m in the wind.
First stop was the Nacogdoches County Courthouse in Nacogdoches, Texas. Rode right up US 59 through Lufkin and to downtown Nacogdoches. The courthouse is right there on Business 59. When I say on Business 59 there is nothing between the curb and courthouse but the sidewalk. No place to park, no place to get a good picture of my bike in front of the courthouse. This calls for some adjustment, but I’m not sure just what to adjust at this point. I rode around to the back of the courthouse to the designated parking area and a good view of the loading dock, air conditioning units, and dumpster. Not the photo moment I was hoping for. I did get some pictures and I’ll explain as good as I can.
Nacogdoches County Courthouse – Nacogdoches, Texas
They did not display the expected Historical Marker, and I got this bit of information from Google. Not much to contribute…
Created in 1826 as a municipality of Mexico.
Organized as a county in 1837. The city of Nacogdoches is the county seat.
Both city and county were named after the Nacogdoches Indians.
Nacogdoches County Courthouse: Date Built – 1958
Replaced the the old courthouse that was built in 1911.
Architect – J. N. McCammon
Style – modern style
Location – Corner of Hwy 21 and US 59
… and here is the expected picture with the motorcycle.
Next stop for a photo is Center, Texas and the Shelby County Courthouse. I took Texas Hwy 7 which is a straight shot east. That is if you can find Hwy 7 in downtown Nacogdoches. It is not very clearly marked and you get to go right through ‘Ol Town’ brick streets and all, except the sign that states, “Texas 7 East”.
But I found it and about 10 miles out of town was the blue dot Scenic Overlook.
Great parking place. Got out my cooler and had a nice lunch and cold drink before going on to Center.
Shelby County also has one of the newer courthouses, but it did offer me a place to park right in front.
Shelby County Courthouse – Center, Texas
This was another one missing the Historical Marker, so I missed a huge piece of courthouse history. Apparently, Shelby County and the City of Center had enough foresight not to tear down their old historic Courthouse when they build the new one pictured above. If I would have ridden two more blocks east on Texas 7, I would have come upon Shelby County Courthouse Square. Here the courthouse that was built in 1885 still sets. I missed the good shot by two blocks. You can see the old courthouse and find out more about it here: Shelby County’s Historic Courthouse
On that note, I think I’ll just post this and start planning my next Courthouse Adventure.
Keep cool, Keep your distance, Wash your hands, and where a mask.