TexasEscapes.com HOME Welcome to Texas Escapes
A magazine written by Texas
Custom Search
New   |   Texas Towns   |   Ghost Towns   |   Counties   |   Trips   |   Features   |   Columns   |   Architecture   |   Images   |   Archives   |   Site Map

Montgomery County TX
Montgomery County

Texas Towns
A - Z
Conroe Hotels

Texas | Architecture | Courthouses


County Seat - Conroe, Texas

Montgomery County

Montgomery County has had five courthouses:
1838, 1842, 1855, 1891, 1936
See History

Book Hotel Here › Conroe Hotels
Conroe TX - 1936 Montgomery County Courthouse
1936 Montgomery County Courthouse
West side entrance portico

Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, December 2007


by Terry Jeanson

The third county established after the birth of the Republic of Texas, Montgomery County was organized in 1837, cut from neighboring Washington County. The county was named for Montgomery, the county’s largest settlement at the time, which was named for early settler and veteran of the battle of San Jacinto, Andrew Jackson Montgomery. Montgomery was a descendant of Revolutionary War general Richard Montgomery. Montgomery County would later be divided to create Grimes, Madison, San Jacinto, Walker and Waller counties.

The town of Montgomery served as the first county seat and the first courthouse, a two-room log structure, was built there in 1838. This courthouse was replaced by a two-story building of hand-hewn lumber in 1842. In 1855, a large Greek Revival-style brick building was completed and served as the county’s third courthouse.

When the railroad arrived in Montgomery County in the 1870s, it bypassed the town of Montgomery. The town of Willis, north of present day Conroe, was established on the railroad and in 1874, an election moved the county seat to Willis. However, when the Houston and Texas Central was built through Montgomery in 1880, the county seat was returned there. In 1881, Houston lumberman Isaac Conroe opened a sawmill at the center of the county near the future junction of the I&GN and the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway. He later moved his sawmill to the railroad junction and it served as a station on the I&GN Railroad. A town developed at the junction, named Conroe’s Switch, and the county seat was moved there in 1889. The town was renamed Conroe in the 1890s. A residence donated by Isaac Conroe served as a temporary courthouse until a permanent brick structure was built in 1891.

The 1891 courthouse in Conroe, the fourth courthouse for the county, was designed by Houston architect Eugene T. Heiner in the Second Empire style that he employed in many of his previous Texas county courthouses, most notably the 1888 Austin County courthouse, the 1888 Falls County courthouse and the 1888 Walker County courthouse. Heiner also designed a separate jail at the same time and it stood until 1931 when it burned down. Fires in 1901 and 1911 near the courthouse square destroyed much of the business district, but the courthouse survived. In 1922 the courthouse grounds became the scene of communal violence when a 19-year old black mill worker, Joe Winters, was accused of raping a young white girl and was burned alive. The 1891 courthouse stood until it was demolished for the construction of the present courthouse in 1936.

The 1936 Montgomery County courthouse was designed by Austrian-born Houston architect Joseph Finger, who is probably best remembered for designing the 1939 Houston City Hall and other buildings in Houston. Finger also designed the 1952 Harris County courthouse with his architectural partner, George W. Rustay, but died before it was completed. The design of the 1936 courthouse reflected many of the Art-Moderne style courthouses already built in Texas during the 1930s which consisted of a large central masses with flanking blocks. The ornamentation on the 1936 courthouse is sparse, consisting of carved stripes in the limestone, stars and stylized eagles and the county name over the east and west side entrances. In place of a clock tower, a small, square, numberless clock sits in the middle of the central mass at the roofline. This courthouse was built with a jail on the top floor which was used until 1965 when the courthouse was remodeled. It was at this time that the 1936 courthouse was surrounded by two-story brick additions with a parking garage beneath them. Columned porticoes were also added to the east and west side entrances. The 1936 courthouse is still in service today with a sky bridge connecting the north side of the 1965 addition to the courthouse annex across West Davis Street.

- Terry Jeanson, March 12, 2011

References: Courthouse and county history from the Handbook of Texas Online and “The Courthouses of Texas” by Mavis P. Kelsey, Sr. and Donald H. Dyal. Jail information from “Wanted: Historic County Jails of Texas” by Edward A. Blackburn, Jr.

Book Hotel Here > Conroe Hotels
Conroe TX - 1936 Montgomery County Courthouse
The 1936 courthouse seen from the southwest corner, barricaded by the 1965 additions.
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, December 2007

The Present Montgomery County Courthouse -

Date - 1936
Architect - Joseph Finger, Inc.
Style - Moderne
Material - Limestone
The 1965 remodeling altered the look of the courthouse.
Conroe TX - Montgomery County Courthouse 1939 old photo
Montgomery County courthouse as it appeared in 1939
Photo courtesy TXDoT
Conroe TX - 1936 Montgomery County Courthouse  art deco entrance
Courthouse west side entrance
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, December 2007
Montgomery County Courthouse eagle
1936 courthouse details
TE Photo
Conroe TX - 1936 Montgomery County Courthouse  art deco  architectural  elements
1936 courthouse details
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, December 2007
Conroe TX - 1936 Montgomery County Courthouse  sky bridge
The 1936 courthouse with its 1965 additions (right) is connected to the courthouse annex (left) by a sky bridge.
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, December 2007
Conroe TX - 1936 Montgomery County Courthouse  sky bridge mural
The east side of the sky bridge includes a mural depicting people and places in Montgomery County history.
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, December 2007
Conroe TX - 1936 Montgomery County Courthouse  mural
Mural showing the 1936 courthouse in its original condition.
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, December 2007

More Texas Murals
Conroe TX - 1936 Montgomery County Courthouse  plaque
Montgomery County Courthouse plaque
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, March 2005
Montgomery County Courthouse,  Conroe, Texas
Montgomery County Courthouse
TE photo, June 2004
Montgomery County Courthouse close-up view
Montgomery County Courthouse close up
TE photo, June 2004
See Conroe, Texas
Montgomery County
More Texas Courthouses

Related Topics:
Texas Towns
Texas Counties
Texas Architecture
Texas Images

Book Hotel Here
Conroe Hotels
More Hotels









































Texas Escapes Online Magazine »   Archive Issues » Home »
Texas Counties
Texas Towns A-Z
Texas Ghost Towns

Central Texas North
Central Texas South
Texas Gulf Coast
Texas Panhandle
Texas Hill Country
East Texas
South Texas
West Texas

Rooms with a Past

Gas Stations
Post Offices
Water Towers
Grain Elevators
Cotton Gins

Vintage Photos
Historic Trees
Old Neon
Ghost Signs
Pitted Dates
Then & Now

Columns: History/Opinion
Texas History
Small Town Sagas
Black History
Texas Centennial

Texas Railroads

Texas Trips
Texas Drives
Texas State Parks
Texas Rivers
Texas Lakes
Texas Forts
Texas Trails
Texas Maps

Site Map
About Us
Privacy Statement
Contact Us

Website Content Copyright Texas Escapes LLC. All Rights Reserved