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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…

03/22/19 – #16 Lee County Courthouse Giddings, Texas

I really like it when people comment or share their thoughts and suggestions about my blogs. At least I know somebody is reading this stuff. Well, a while back my daughter, Tisha, called and suggested I add numbers to the courthouses. I liked that idea. So from now on you’ll know at a glance, I still got a lot of Texas to cover – 238 courthouses to be exact. Glad ya’ll are going along for the ride.

Its been a while since I got to add another courthouse to my portfolio. The weather has been the biggest hindrance, but also we sometimes have to deal with life in general. However, today all those things opened up and allowed me the opportunity to take a ride through the countryside and end the day next to Lee County’s courthouse in Giddings, Texas.

During the winter months the only good times to photograph a courthouse seemed to be weekends. With the change to daylight savings time, I now get a couple of extra hours after normal business times for the streets to clear and allow some pretty good access for my pictures. I took advantage of 6 PM Friday afternoon to have full access to all sides of Lee Counties’ pride and joy.

Lee County 1

#16 Lee County Courthouse, Giddings, Texas

The history of the courthouse is kind of interesting. Why would anybody think it was cool to model a Texas building after a New York State building? Also, the picture is made on the north side of the building. The front appears to be the west side, but that side has a fire escape which I thought detracts from the overall beauty of the building. The real cool part is the entrances at each of the corners; and for that you get a historical registry marker.

Lee County 2

Lee County History

Now for some embarrassing info on yours truly.  Hurried on up Hwy 77 to get to Rockdale before dark, and I got there okay. Rode around the downtown area and could not find the courthouse? Dark was slowly moving in so I asked (I know men aren’t supposed to ask for direction, but I did) this very nice lady at the Conoco gas station, “Can you tell me where the courthouse is located?” And in a very polite way she said, “Get on Hwy 77 and go to Cameron, Rockdale is not the county seat of Milam County.”

So, it got dark, and tomorrow I’ll stop in Cameron for another courthouse picture.

Later, Bud…

01/27/2019 – #15 Jefferson County Courthouse, Beaumont, Texas

Woke up early this morning thinking about riding to Beaumont to capture the Jefferson County Courthouse. (That just doesn’t have a good sound to it; take a picture is much better.) The weather forecast said partly cloudy and 63 degrees. However, looking outside there was a heavy fog and 40 something. So a 9 AM departure was not gonna happen. Along about 11:00 things started to clear up and I got the KLR out for its photo shoot in front of the Jefferson County Courthouse.

The KLR is my favorite motorcycle. I’ve own it since 2000 and we have traveled most of North America together. We logged 73,000 miles seeing all but four states and three Canadian Provinces. We’ve ridden across Mexico and up the Baja peninsula from Cabo to California. And that’s just a few of the adventures we have shared, and not once has it left me on the side of the road.

Check out my other websites to see where we been:

Buds Trip to Alaska

Buds Trip to Nova Scotia

Buds Trip to Cabo

I’m sure you’re here to see the courthouses not to hear me ramble on about a great motorcycle.

We took off for Beaumont going to Cleveland and picking up Hwy 105 east through Moss Hill, and Sour Lake. For those that are not aware, Sour Lake is the Birth Place of Texaco; however, Wikipedia says it was founded in Beaumont (they need to read what’s on the water tower as you pass through town). Texaco has moved on long ago and Sour Lake is still on Hwy 105.

jefferson county 2

#15 Jefferson County Courthouse, Beaumont, Texas

I couldn’t get a good shot with the bike being right in front of the courthouse, so I moved the bike across the street. This highlights the bike (the KLR likes to be featured) and allowed me to capture the magnitude of the “Tallest Courthouse” in Beaumont.

I didn’t see the usual historical marker so I went searching on the computer when I got home. This is what I found:

The Jefferson County Courthouse is one of the tallest courthouses in the state, and is an excellent example of Art Decoarchitecture. Built in 1931, it is the fourth courthouse built in Jefferson County. It was designed by Fred Stone and Augustin Babin, and is thirteen stories high. In 1981, an annex was added to the west side of the courthouse. This is from: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

So, that’s it for today’s adventure. Hopefully, the weather will warm up and the ridding conditions will improve. Then I’ll checkout another courthouse.

Later, Bud…

01/05/19 – Another Beautiful Day in Texas

and as always a great day for a ride. Yesterday morning my friend Sam called and suggested we get together for a ride through the countryside. He had already talked to my son Scott, and nephew Rob and they were both in. We were to meet at Rob’s house in Conroe between 9 and 10, then ride west from there. I got there 10 minutes late and learned that Scott had to work (one of those demanding things that goes with being self-employed).

We got on the road about 11:00 AM and headed for FM 1375 through the National Forest. Then through Richards and on to Anderson. Of course we stopped at the only watering hole along the way, just outside of Richards. I discussed with the group stopping at the courthouse in Anderson so I could get a picture.  These pictures are with my cell phone, not the good camera, so the quality is not so good.

I’ve often stopped at the Grimes County Courthouse when passing through Anderson; it’s one of my favorites. It’s hard to miss setting high on the hill, and can be seen from all directions coming into Anderson.

grimes county courthouse 1

#14 Grimes County Courthouse, Anderson, Texas

grimes county courthouse 2

Courthouse historical marker. This is the first courthouse I’ve photographed that is recorded as a Texas Historical Site – pretty interesting.

grimes county history

Here’s some history on Grimes County.

grimes county selfie

…and here’s my riding companions for the day, Sam, Rob, and Jo (front to back). This was supposed to be a group selfie, but after Sam managed to cut me out of the picture three times, it was time to go.  I fixed it by adding my picture in behind Jo.  PHOTO BOMB!

After the photo session it was on to Carlos, Snook, Independence, and back to Conroe. Not bad for a January ride in Texas.

Later, Bud…

01/01/19 – Happy New Year !!!

I have heard that on New Years Day you are supposed to do something that you would like to do throughout the year. So, I went motorcycle riding. Rode up to Crockett, county seat for Houston County. I rode around the courthouse square a number of times over the years as I traveled through Crockett or went there to eat at the Moosehead Cafe, which is right there on the square across from the courthouse. In fact, I believe Marvin captured his picture of the Houston County Courthouse while I was in the cafe having coffee and pie.

Crockett is about 65 miles from my home and I felt the appropriate bike for the picture was my 1974 Honda CB750 K. It is quite photogenic, and rather proud of its 1st Place win at the Wolf Creek Custom Car and Bike Show this past October. Compared to one of my newer bikes it is not as comfortable to ride, but it is very dependable and runs great for a 45 year old machine. A side effect of riding the bike is the attention it brings when I stop somewhere. People gather around and say things like, “My first bike was one like this, or my neighbor had one just like this when I was growing up,”

So, on to Crockett. It’s a straight shot up Hwy 19 through Trinity. Same way back. Being New Years Day all the businesses around the square were closed, even the Moosehead, so no pie today. Had the whole front of the courthouse to park. The Honda looked kind of lost in front of this huge building with nothing else around. Also, the Honda does not have a place to safely attach my camera case, so the pictures were shot with my cell phone. Here’s what I got.

Houston County 1

#13 Houston County Courthouse, Crockett, Texas

Houston County 2

This picture is cropped to show the Honda a little better. Can you tell I’m very proud of this ol’ gal?

Houston County History

The Courthouse History.

An early observation seems to be that many of the counties have had multiple courthouses, and many were lost to fires and poor construction.  I had to look up the word “razed.”  This is a word I was not familiar with the meaning.

By the time I got home the sun had set and I was cold, but other than the elements I had a great ride and a great start to 2019.  Hope you did, too.

Later, Bud…

12/28/18 – Last one before 2019…

It’s Friday, the sky is bright blue and clear. There’s a brisk wind out of the north which makes the 60 degree temp feel cold.  I called my nephew, Rob and he is going to meet me for a ride to Groveton, Texas and the Trinity County Courthouse. My thinking is: it’s Friday afternoon and the last working day of the year for a small east Texas town, there should be minimal traffic around the courthouse, and a great opportunity to park my bike in front for pictures.

Got my Honda Africa Twin out of the garage, checked and aired up the tires, and we’re ready to go.

Met Rob in Point Blank and we rode to FM-356 in Onalaska. Took 356 to Sebastapol and FM-355 which leads to downtown Groveton. 356 provides great views of Lake Livingston and 355 is just a great 2-lane blacktop for 14 miles. During this 14 miles we encountered about three areas with signs that stated “Loose Gravel”.  I hate loose gravel, especially at 70 MPH. I guess the signs were old and the gravel had time to pack down, but it ain’t worth the chance, I always slow down and approach with caution. On the way back – will that’s a different story.

Before heading to Groveton, I did a little research about the courthouse. Appears Trinity County has two; one is a showplace and the other is a functioning court. Even has the office for the District Judge.

Here’s pictures of both:

Trinity County 1

#12 Trinity County Courthouse, Groveton, Texas

This is a classic Texas Courthouse.  Isn’t it a grand looking building?

Trinity County History

… the history.

… and the other courthouse.

Trinity County 2

Also, a classic Texas Courthouse.

This weekend is suppose to be in the 40s, so I think I’ll leave the bikes in the garage. Maybe work on the 1978 Honda SS, and get it ready for a photo shot.

See ya next year, Bud…

12/16/18 – Rode a big loop …

and wound up where I started. When looking at my map it appeared I could pickup three courthouses today by riding a loop from Coldspring to Kountze, Woodville, Livingston, and back home to Coldspring. Total mileage was about 170 miles. It could have been a bit shorter, but I choose not to follow my navigation app and added an extra 10 miles to the trip.

I won’t go into details of the route I took to Kountze. I don’t think Stringtown Rd. is on the map; however, it was picturesque and worth the extra miles (and time).

First stop Hardin County Courthouse. A bit unusual so I took a couple of photos from different angles.

Hardin County 1

#9 Hardin County Courthouse, Kountze, Texas

This is from the west side of the courthouse; the only place to park the sidecar and have it in the picture.

Here’s a bit of diversion.  I like motorcycles with character, and lets face it a 2003 Suzuki VL-800 lacks character.  But hang a sidecar on it and instance CHARACTER.  Everywhere you stop people want to talk about it.  A guy passed me today driving an ol’ Buick with fenders flapping, pulled along side me so he could give it a Thumbs Up.  Made me proud to be driving something with Character.  Now on with the show…

Hardin County 2

This is from the street side (north side of the building), no place to park and the sun was in the wrong place to get a really good shot.  I had to adjust, and this is what I got.

Hardin County History

I read this marque a couple of times trying to determine the two very different architectures, and here’s what I came up with: The dome and columns in the front of this new(er) building are reproductions of the original old courthouse, or they actually came from the old courthouse and placed in front of the new one. Both of my conclusions are wild ass guesses. You are welcome to come up with you own theory.

Hardin County 3

I rode around town looking for the law offices referred to on the marque and didn’t find anything that resembled what is described here. So, from Kountze it is a straight shot up US 287 to Woodville, and my second courthouse for today.  BTW – Mama Jack’s has an excellent Sunday buffet.  Right there on 287.

Tyler County

#10 Tyler County Courthouse, Woodville, Texas

Not a lot to say about Tyler County’s Courthouse. They did provide me with adequate parking for my picture. It’s a cool ol’ Courthouse, very representative of the period when it was built.

Tyler County History

Now it’s a straight shot on US 190 from Woodville to Livingston, and Polk County. There was a lot of traffic on 190 for a Sunday afternoon, and I was guilty of holding up many of the folks that wanted to run the 75 MPH speed limit. Top speed on the side hack is only about 65. I did move over where it was safe for me to do so to let’em go around. Just trying to be considerate of the other drivers.

Polk County

#11 Polk County Courthouse, Livingston, Texas

When I got to Livingston, the traffic in town was not that bad and I got to park right in front of the courthouse. Nice looking courthouse that I’ve admired for the 20 years we have lived in this area.

The holidays are just around the corner and I’m not sure when I’ll be able to take some more pictures, but it will most likely be next year.  So, please check back and see my progress.  This is not as easy as going to Alaska and back.  Bud’s Trip To Alaska check it out.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year !!!