09/28/19 # 32 – Fayette County Courthouse, La Grange, Texas

Saturday, September 28, 2019, its been a month since I took a courthouse picture. Time to get with the program.

I had to make a quick trip to Warrenton, Texas today to check the hot water heater in our travel trailer. Va is staying in it at the antique show that is going on in Round Top / Warrenton. The hot water heater quick working about 4 days ago and she has been taking cool showers each morning. She says it’s an invigorating way to start the day knowing the temperature will be in the 90s before noon. So, I gathered a few tools and my camera, hopped on the newly acquired BMW and headed for Warrenton.  About 130 mile away.

The event traffic on opening Saturday was terrible to say the least. It was stop-n-go for about 12 miles, and by the time I reached her venue and the trailer, I needed a cool-down shower. Checked out the water heater and the pilot will not light. Time for a replacement; let’s see a new hot water heater or a new travel trailer?

Cooled down with a large ice tea and a short visit.  Then headed home away from the direction where the traffic was still backed-up; that was towards La Grange and the Fayette County Courthouse.

Downtown La Grange on Saturday afternoon was not busy, so I parked the motorcycle in the middle of the town square and there’s only one other car (actually a suburban) parked right where the bike should have been for the picture. Oh well, I’m getting used to taking pictures around unexpected conditions. Here’s the courthouse from the front.

Fayette County 1

Fayette County Courthouse, La Grange, Texas

The sun was directly behind the clock tower so the picture of the courthouse is a bit distorted, but what a great shot of the bike.

After tanking this picture I walked around to the other side to see if there might be a better shot from a different angle. Saw the information marque on the far side of the courthouse.

Fayette County History

Love it when the county has the history displayed. Gives an extra appreciation for the courthouse.

Here’s the courthouse from the side entrance. Makes a much nicer photo – I think.

Fayette County 2

This picture shows the color effects of the different kinds of stone. Very pretty.

It was getting late as you can till by were the sun is in the first picture, and time to turn the new BMW towards Coldspring. It sure is a good road bike.  Got home just before dark.

Later, Bud…

07/30/19 # 29, 30, and 31 – Wilbarger, Throckmorton, and Eastland Counties

I took these pictures while returning home from my motorcycle trip to Alaska.  I’ve been trying to get caught up on things around here after being gone for 25 days.  Now it’s time to get this blog up to date.

When I shot these 3 courthouses (photographed, not shootem’ up) was at the end of a long hot ride from Hays, Kansas back to Texas on US Hwy 183.  I wasn’t sure how far into Texas I  would ride that day, but somewhere south of the Red River.  I made it to Breckenridge.  I also missed getting a picture of the courthouse in Seymour where I stopped for a water and cool down break.  Didn’t occur to me that the courthouse was less than two blocks away.  And by the time I got to Breckenridge it was getting late and I wanted to get to my motel before dark.  Left the next morning while it was still dark, and missed the opportunity to capture the Stephens County Courthouse (photo-capture).   Here’s how I got the others.

When I crossed into Texas from Oklahoma the temperature went from 92 to 102 F.  As I made my way toward Vernon, Texas, I created a mental plan to stop every 30 to 45 minutes to cool off.  I still had plenty of daylight and the towns in this part of Texas are about 30 miles apart (give or take 20 miles).  As I approach the town square in Vernon there set the Wilbarger County Courthouse.  Right in front was parking for my bike, and the traffic was light enough for a crazy person to stand in the street to take a picture.

Wilbarger 1

#29 Wilbarger County Ccourthouse, Vernon, Texas

Okay, so that’s not the front of the courthouse.  Here’s the front with no motorcycle.   I really like the columns and the railing along the top.  Also, how they used ‘V’ for ‘U’.

Wilbarger Courthouse

After taking these pictures I noticed a restaurant across the street and decided the air condition and a cold BOC would be refreshing.  Took a longer break than planned, but still had about 3 more hours of daylight.  Had a cob salad for an early supper, and off to my next stop.

By the time I got to Throckmorton, all the businesses were closed and the locals had gone home (or where ever they go).  I stopped in front of the courthouse to take this picture.

Throckmorton

#30 Throckmorton County Courthouse, Throckmorton, Texas

I like it when the locals take the time to record and register the pride of their county.

Throckmorton History

The focus is a little off – probably from standing too close with a cheap camera.

Next stop was Breckenridge, and I’ve already explained why I didn’t get a picture.

Got up early to try and beat the heat.  Left before daylight, and rode with my bright lights on and white-knuckles, looking for any object that might want to share the road without warning.  Eastland is about 30 miles down the road, and it was just getting light as I rode into town.  You can see the reflection of the flash in the pictures.

Eastland Courthouse

#31 Eastland County Courthouse, Eastland, Texas

Eastland Courthouse History

Above is the info about the courthouse, and here’s the info about Eastland County.  “A barrel of oil for $2.60, let’s get those banks opened.”

Eastland History

That’s enough fun for now,  I’ll keep working on more reasons for a motorcycle ride and courthouse photos, and keep you posted.

Later, Bud…

07/07/19 #’s 25, 26, 27, and 28

The title doesn’t tell much, and that’s because I covered a bunch of courthouses today.  I’m on my way to Alaska on my Africa Twin.  My first stop is at my sister Patt’s in Edmond, Oklahoma.  I decided if I went there on the back roads I could get some courthouse pictures along the way.  I went up Texas Hwy 19 to Palestine, Athens, Canton, and Emory, and got the courthouses for Anderson, Henderson, Van Zandt, and Rains Counties.

Anderson County

#25 Anderson County Courthouse – Palestine, Texas

anderson-county-history.jpg

Anderson County Courthouse history

From Palestine, I continued up Texas 19 to Athens.  Here’s the Henderson County Courthouse.

Henderson County

#26 Henderson County Courthouse, Athens, Texas

All the sides of this courthouse look the same.  This is a real nice example of a fine Texas Courthouse, and the AT looks like a pack mule.  It’s almost as comfortable.

henderson-county-history.jpg

Under the Oak Tree – sounds pretty convenient – bring the accused prisoner to the bench, find them guilty, and hang them right there.  Talk about speed to trial, et al.

Onward to Canton and the Van Zandt County Courthouse.  I’ve been to Canton many times.  When your married to an antique collector/dealer you’re going to go to Canton to 1st Monday, more than once.  In the times I’ve been there I never paid much attention to the courthouse.  I also thought it would be impossible to  get a good picture with all the weekend traffic, but it wasn’t.  In fact, a truck driver saw that I was trying to get into position to take the picture, and he stopped in the middle of the block so I could.

Thanks, Mr. Truck Driver.

Van Zandt County

#27 Van Zandt County Courthouse, Canton, Texas

van-zandt-history-2.jpg

Not very interesting history, but a very cool courthouse.

Not far up the road from Canton, is the town of Emory and the Rains County Courthouse.

Rains County Courthouse

#28 Rains County Courthouse, Emory, Texas

rains-county-history-1.jpg

Many of the counties built multiple courthouses near the turn of the century.  Many had fires for some strange reason.  I like the fact that they used a local brick company to build this one.  Of course, transporting enough bricks to build a courthouse in 1907 was more complicated than building a brick factory 3 miles away.  Just my thoughts.

I traveled north on 19 to Sulfur Springs, hoping to get one more courthouse.  When I got there I rode right past what I believed to be the Hopkins County Courthouse, but there was no place to park (even my motorcycle) and no access for a good picture.  Something was going on and the downtown area was filled with weekenders from the DFW Metroplex.  Maybe next time when I’m just passing through.

Next stop was Oklahoma, and then onward to Alaska.  Check it out Bud’s 2019 Trip to Alaska

Later, Bud…

06/08/19 # 23 and 24 – Liberty and Chambers County Courthouses

Every time I look at my map to decide which courthouse I would like to visit, Anahuac looks to be out of the way. I tend to find other places I can ride to in a day, but am quickly running out of those places. A second closer look at the map and it is only 30 miles from Liberty to Anahuac, so the plan for today is Liberty County Courthouse, lunch in Liberty, then on to Anahuac and Chambers County Courthouse.

The route I took was through Cleveland and Dayton to Liberty to Anahuac. The return to Liberty was the only route I had to backtrack, and then take FM 146 to Livingston. The traffic was light for a Saturday on back-country roads.

For this trip I took my new (to me) sidecar rig. I acquired it in April, and if you would like to find out more about that adventure check out this blog: Buds Latest Adventure .

There’s something about small town courthouses and car shows. Two weeks ago we had one in Coldspring. When I went to the Lampasas courthouse (my 2nd courthouse picture) they were having a car show. And when I got to the Liberty County Courthouse, that’s right a car show. The car show was set up on the backside of the courthouse and that allowed me to get a clean shot of the front of the courthouse. Then I went around to the other side and checked out the cars. They didn’t have any motorcycles and I didn’t take any car pictures.

Liberty County Courthouse

# 22 – Liberty County Courthouse – Liberty, Texas

Liberty County History

Here’s a little history about Liberty County’s seven courthouses.

For lunch I went to Big Frank’s BBQ. Pretty good. Big Frank came over to talk to me about the sidecar. Seems like a real nice guy, but not as big as I expected; about 5’8” and 180 lbs, but I would have ridden right past Average-Size Frank’s.  Glad I stopped the BBQ was great.

From Big Frank’s I went east on US 90 about 2 miles to FM 563 and headed south for Anahuac. The first person I saw in Anahuac was a DPS officer, he was stopping in the middle of the street to check out the sidecar rig and give me a thumbs-up as I rode by at 2 MPH under the posted speed limit. We were both smiling which I consider a good thing when you unexpectedly meet up with an officer of the law. Now to find the courthouse.

Chambers County Courthouse

# 23 – Chambers County Courthouse – Anahuac, Texas

This is another courthouse that has no information about the history. But I found the eagles on top of the courthouse very interesting. From a distance they appear to be like the eagles on top of buildings in Germany prior to WWII. I like eagles.

Chanbers Courthouse Eagle

So, the new rig performed well, and I had a good day.  230 courthouses to go.

Later, Bud…

05/26/19 – # 20, 21, and 22 Jasper, Newton, and Orange County Courthouses…

…not necessarily in that order.

It seems like I have not taken any courthouse picture for a very long time, it has actually been six weeks. Hopefully, I can post more often in the future, but sometimes life gets in the way, and tests our priorities. We’ve had a lot going on family-wise; birthdays, graduations, and buying more motorcycles.

The newest motorcycle can be found over at my other catch-all blog Bud’s Latest Adventure . This latest addition has left my garage looking like a maze it is so full.

So, back to the courthouse adventures. Started by getting the Africa Twin out and pre-flighting it for a beautiful sunny Sunday ride. First stop would be the Orange County Courthouse in Orange, Texas. Before leaving I did my usual internet research to find out what I might expect when I got to Orange.

The pictures of the current courthouse dated 2014 showed scaffolding at the entrance. Another picture shows it still there in 2016. There was no current picture so I ‘assumed’ the work project had been completed.

When I was two blocks away I saw this beautiful grand looking building with a huge dome on top and thought this must be the original courthouse, but instead it was the 1st Presbyterian Church.

1st Pres Church

Here’s the picture. I know this is about courthouses and motorcycles not churches, but when the church is so much more attractive than the courthouse, I think it deserves a photo moment.

Orange County

Orange County Courthouse, Orange, Texas

Here’s the courthouse as it stands today. Still got the scaffolds up. Maybe when they finish the face lift project they’ll add a historical marker that tells a little bit about the courthouse.

Orange county History

Here’s the only history I could find on the premises. The older courthouse appears to have had some real charm. Wonder why it was replaced?

From Orange it is 55 miles to Newton, Texas and the Newton County Courthouse. Newton actually has a town square in the center of town and this is where the courthouse is located.

Newton Courthouse

Newton County Courthouse, Newton, Texas

Again not much history about the courthouse.

Newton Courthouse Hisstory

Jasper is only 15 miles west of Newton, so off I go on the big red Honda.

I’ve been to or through Jasper a number of times, but never noticed the courthouse. Well it is located on the town square in Jasper. My GPS (I don’t like navigation devices, I like paper maps) told me to turn right on Houston St. and I knew this could not be right. The downtown area had to be to the left. So, I did what any red-blooded man would do, I rode around till I saw the tower on top of the courthouse. There it was right in the middle of the square one block off of Houston St. Actually, in between Houston and Austin Streets with Main St. to the west side of the building.

Jasper Courthouse

Jasper County Courthouse, Jasper, Texas

Jasper County History

It was hard to tell where the front was, but I figured it was right behind the marque that told about the courthouse. As I read the marque I checked the time on the clock and it was right on. I was also a little confused about statement that said the clock tower had been removed. Still there and working fine.

Covered almost 300 mile today. Got a little sunburned, but had a Great Day.

Have a Happy Memorial Day, but keep in mind what the day is about. Thanks to those that gave their lives for what they believed in “Our Freedom”.

Later, Bud…

#19 – Angelina County Courthouse, Lufkin, Texas

I woke up early this morning anticipating my ride to Lufkin, to take pictures of the Angelina County Courthouse. I could hear the wind blowing outside and knew it was going to be a ride that requires extra attention and control from the gust and crosswinds I would encounter. Interesting when riding in strong winds, they seem to come at you from all directions and offer no opportunity to relax. That aside, the sun was bright, the temperatures 60 to 70, and the traffic was relatively light.

Lufkin is about 1 ½ hours from Coldspring. The most direct route is right up US-59, and the less direct return on the more scenic route, Texas 94 back through Apple Springs, Groveton, Sebastopol and Onalaska.

Before leaving I did some internet research and to my surprise found almost nothing about the Angelina County Courthouse. It wasn’t even called a “courthouse” when I found it on my maps app, instead it was called “The Court of Law”. When I pulled into the parking lot it was a disappointing sight. Not exciting to look at and a 1955 statement of a “politically correct” building. However, the more research I do the more interesting Angelina County becomes.

More than any other structure, a courthouse is the most endearing symbol of a county’s history in Texas. And they’re usually among the most imposing buildings in the county seat. But in the l950s, many Texas counties threw aside history, tradition and elegance and replaced some of our finest courthouses with modern buildings–many of them with little character or appeal.”

I copied the above statement from the TexasEscapes.com website. It captured my thoughts when standing in front of the existing courthouse.  The article was written by Bob Bowman, a local Angelina County historian. I encourage you to read the article. It tells about James R. Gordon, the man responsible for the designs of eighteen Texas courthouses.

Here’s a picture of the old courthouse that was replaced with the box in 1955.

AngelinaCountyCourthouse 1939

Picture is also from TexasEscapes.com.  Thanks to them, again.

…and here’s the current jewel of Angelina County.

Angelina County Courthouse

#19 Angelina County Courthouse, Lufkin,  Texas

The Angelina County Courthouse in Lufkin, Texas, was built in 1955, the look of the building was dramatically altered in 1962, but no where can I find what was altered. There was no typical marker from the Texas Historical Commission. Guess they couldn’t find enough information to put up a sign.

Standing in the parking lot and looking across the street at the other structures I noticed a hollow storefront with a board across the opening that read, “Courthouse Barber Shop and Courthouse Drug Store.” Looks like they been closed since the new courthouse was built. Wish I’d got a picture, but missed the opportunity, sorry.

There was another sight I did not expect to see in downtown Lufkin, the US Courthouse. Interesting it has more charm and appeal then the Court of Law building.  I had to move the bike, but got this picture.

US Courthouse Lufkin

Thanks for following along. I’ll be on the road next week. Going to Prescott, Wisconsin to pick up another sidecar rig to put in the stable. I’ll post pictures of it when I get back.

Later, Bud…

O3/23/2019 – #17 & 18 Milam County and Washington County Courthouses

Spent last night at the house in Temple. After having breakfast at Bill’s Grill and doing the chores I came to do, I saddled up and headed to Cameron, Texas, the county seat for Milam county.

The weather was holding good for a ride through the countryside, but the wind was atrocious. There is nothing to block the wind, and as it comes across the freshly plowed cotton fields it seems to gain force. Makes for complete concentration and a sore neck and cramped mussels at the end of the ride.

Enough whining Bud. On with the tour.

Milam County

#17 Milam County Courthouse, Cameron, Texas

…and the history.

Milam County History

…and then on to Brenham, Texas and more crosswinds.

I have dreaded photographing the Washington County courthouse. Just one of those mental preparation things that I go through trying to frame the subject in my mine’s eye even before I am in front of the courthouse. I have driven / rode by this courthouse so many times I can’t count and I do not remember a time that it was not surrounded by people or vehicles. How do you get a good picture with all that to consider? Brenham is just close enough to Houston to attract loads of weekend shoppers and site-see-ers. The highway goes right through downtown and passes the courthouse on two sides. This area is always busy. Well, I got to Brenham about 5:30 PM and all my fears were for nothing. All sides of the courthouse were void of vehicles and people. There was almost no traffic; I was free to take my time and capture the courthouse from any angle. I chose the front.

Washington County

#18 Washington County Courthouse, Brenham, Texas

 

Washington County is rich in Texas history. Maybe when I finish the courthouse tour I’ll photograph the historical markers. Probably never happen. But, here’s the one for this courthouse.

Washington County History

If the weather holds out maybe I can travel to a few more county seats, take some more pictures and share the ride with you.

Later, Bud…