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Texas | Architecture | Courthouses

DALLAS COUNTY COURTHOUSES
County Seat - Dallas, Texas

Dallas County has had seven courthouses:
1846, 1850, 1855, 1872, 1881, 1892 and 1966

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The 1966 Dallas County Courthouse, Dallas Texas
The 1966 Dallas County courthouse
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, February 2008

The Present Dallas County courthouse -
Dallas, Texas

Date - 1966
Style - Modern
Material - concrete and steel
The 1966 Dallas County courthouse has been remodeled with a large addition to the east side.

 "Old Red" Courthouse, Dallas, Texas

The 1892 Dallas County Courthouse "Old Red"
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark
SW corner of the courthouse at Commerce and Houston

Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, February 2008


The 1892 Dallas County Courthouse

Date - 1892
Architect - Orlopp & Kusener
Style - Romanesque Revival
Material - Old granite and sandstone

Still Standing today as Old Red Museum

Old Red Courthouse

(Historical Marker)
Designated as public land in John Neely Bryan's 1844 city plat, this was the site of a log courthouse built after Dallas County was created in 1846. When Dallas won election as permanent county seat in 1850, Bryan deeded the property to the county, and a larger log structure was erected.

In 1856 county offices occupied a 2-story brick edifice, rebuilt in 1860 after a fire that almost destroyed the city. The fourth courthouse, a 2-story granite structure erected in 1871, survived one fire in 1880 before it burned again in 1890.

The Old Red Courthouse, the fifth seat of county government, was begun in 1890 and completed in 1892. Designed by Architect M. A. Orlopp, it exemplifies the Romanesque Revival style with its massive scale and rounded arches. The blue granite of the lower floor and window trim contrasts with the red sandstone of the upper stories. Eight circular turrets dominate the design. A clock tower with a 4500-pound bell originally topped the building, but it was removed in 1919. Two of the four clay figures perched on the roof have also been removed. To house the expanding county government, a new courthouse was built in 1965. Some offices remained in the 1890 structure, which was renovated in 1968.
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1977

TX - 1892 Dallas County courthouse Old Red
"Old Red" as it appeared in 1939
Notice the cabin of Dallas' Pioneer Settler, John Neely Bryan, in front.

Photo courtesy TXDoT


Bird's-eye View of "Old Red" Courthouse, Dallas, Texas
Bird's-eye view of Dallas' "Old Red" Courthouse in 2006
Photo courtesy C. DeWaun Simmons, February 2006


 "Old Red" Courthouse, Dallas, Texas
Photo courtesy C. DeWaun Simmons, March 2006


TX - 1892 Dallas County courthouse clock tower
The central clock tower, absent since 1919, was reconstructed and completed in the summer of 2007. It rises 205 feet above the street.
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, February 2008


TX - 1892 Dallas County courthouse tower
Tower on southeast corner
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, February 2008


TX - 1892 Dallas County courthouse tower
South side detail
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, February 2008


TX - 1892 Dallas County courthouse griffin
The missing two of the four original griffins were restored to the roof of the courthouse
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, February 2008


TX - 1892 Dallas County courthouse granite column
Texas red granite column at west side entrance
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, February 2008


TX - 1892 Dallas County courthouse sandstone arches
Detail on the arches over the west side entrance
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, February 2008


TX - 1892 Dallas County courthouse - Old Red Museum sign
Museum sign on the northwest corner of the courthouse. Old Red Courthouse is now the Old Red Museum of Dallas County Hstory & Culture
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, February 2008

1892 Dallas County Courthouse Interior

TX - 1892 Dallas County courthouse - Old Red Museum stained glass transom
Stained glass transom over west side entrance.
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, February 2008


TX - 1892 Dallas County courthouse - Old Red Museum staircase
The main staircase on the south side of the courthouse rises to the fourth floor
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, February 2008


TX - 1892 Dallas County courthouse - Old Red Museum interior
Looking down from the second floor.
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, February 2008


TX - 1892 Dallas County courthouse - Old Red Museum rod iron staircase pole
End post on the first floor of the staircase
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, February 2008


TX - 1892 Dallas County courthouse - Old Red Museum Pegasus
Displayed in the center of the first floor is a lighted Pegasus which sat on top of a Mobil gas station in Casa Linda in east Dallas for fifty years. Before that, in 1939, it was on display at the World's Fair in New York. (The original Pegasus on top of the Magnolia Building in Dallas was larger than this one.)
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, February 2008


TX - 1892 Dallas County courthouse - Old Red Museum interior
Second floor hallway. Each room on the second floor is filled with display cases and interactive, multimedia kiosks which educate visitors about the history of Dallas and Dallas County.
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, February 2008

1892 Dallas County Courthouse
Old Postcards

TX - Old Red, Dallas County Courthouse 1903 postcard
1903 postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/


TX - Dallas County Courthouse 1907 old post card
1907 postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/


TX - old Dallas County Courthouse
1908 postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/


1892 Dallas County Courthouse , Dallas, Texas
1910 postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/


X - Old Dallas County courthouse and John Neely Bryan log cabin
"Old Courthouse and Cabin of Dallas' Pioneer Settler, John Neely Bryan."
Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/


TX - Old and New Dallas County Courthouses
The old and new Dallas County Courthouses
Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/


Dallas County old and new courthouses and Kennedy Memorial in Dallas, Texas
"New & old County Courthouses & Kennedy Memorial, Dallas, Texas."
1972 postcardourtesy rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/


The 1881 Dallas County Courthouse



TX - 1881 Dallas County Courthouse
The 1881 Dallas County courthouse
Photo from a display case at the Old Red Museum.

- Terry Jeanson, February 2008

The 1881 Dallas County Courthouse

Style - Second Empire

James Flanders, Dallas's most important 19th century architect, built this courthouse out of the remaining walls of the previous building. Using limestone quarried from White Rock Creek, it cost $100,000 and was widely believed to be the first fireproof courthouse in the city's fire-plagued history but unfortunately, it, too, burned in 1890. Information from the Dallas Historical Society. - Terry Jeanson

The 1872 Dallas County Courthouse


TX - 1872 Dallas County Courthouse
The 1872 Dallas County courthouse
Photo from a display case at the Old Red Museum.
-
Terry Jeanson, February 2008

The 1872 Dallas County Courthouse

Style - Italianate
Material - Local white limestone
Remodeled in 1881 by James Flanders after the partial fire in 1880

Work began on this courthouse in 1871. After spending $40,000, it was still unfinished, and it took an emergency act by the state legislature for funds to continue work. On completion in May 1874, the final cost had reached $75 - 80,000. It partially burned in 1880. Information from DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University. - Terry Jeanson

The 1855 Dallas County Courthouse


TX - 1855 Dallas County Courthouse
The 1855 Dallas County courthouse
Photo from a display case at the Old Red Museum.

- Terry Jeanson, February 2008

The 1855 Dallas County Courthouse

This square, brick building, completed in 1856 at a cost of $7400, survived the fire that devastated most of the businesses in town in 1860, but it was torn down in 1871 and its materials sold for $465. Information from the Texas/Dallas History & Archives Division, Dallas Public Library. - Terry Jeanson

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