The Tyler County Courthouse was built in 1891. It is pictured above, and clearly, it looked quite different then. It was a red brick building with a steeply pitched roof and a clock tower which also housed a bell.
In the 1930′s the Works Progress Administration put men to work renovating the structure. Stucco was added to the outside of the brick. An exterior stair was added on the north side, a two-story addition was added on the south side, the clock tower was re-designed, and various interior rooms were changed.
The renovation will bring the building back to its 1891 form. The original windows are still in place, the original brick is still there under the stucco. It will be a smaller building, but the 1930′s addition on the south, which will be removed, is not in good condition. The interior rooms will also return to their original shapes and decor.
In addition, the building will have up-to-date wiring (including computer fiber), plumbing, heat and air. Bathrooms will be handicapped-accessible, and an elevator will still provide access to the upper floors. The work to be done is similar to that at other previously restored courthouses in Texas. Go have a look in San Augustine, Trinity, or Newton at the spectacular courthouses there. If they can do it, we can, too!
The building is already protected by a historical easement with the state of Texas. It cannot be demolished. We can use it in its present form and maintain it entirely with county funds, or tap into state grant funds to cover approximately half of the restoration cost and have a showplace which is not only up to date now, but an investment in the future of the county.