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Karnes  County
Karnes County

Texas | Architecture | Courthouses

KARNES COUNTY COURTHOUSE
County Seat - Karnes City, Texas

Karnes County has had three courthouses:
1894 - Karnes City
1873 - Helena
1854 - Helena

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 Karnes County courthouse, Karnes City Texas
Karnes County courthouse
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, August, 2007

The Present Karnes County Courthouse
- Karnes City

Date - 1894
Architect - John Cormack
Style - Romanesque Revival

Karnes County Courthouse Historical Marker

Historical Marker:

Karnes County Courthouse

In 1854 Karnes County erected its first courthouse in the county seat of Helena, an important stage stop between San Antonio and Goliad. The original courthouse was destroyed in a storm about 1865 and a new stone courthouse was built in Helena in 1873.

In the mid-1880s the citizens of Helena refused to grant right-of-way and cash concessions sought by the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad to route its proposed rail line through the town. As a result, the railroad bypassed Helena as it built a line through Karnes County in 1886-87. By 1893 the railroad town of Karnes City, established here in 1891, had surpassed Helena in population and political clout. Karnes City was chosen the new county seat on December 21, 1893.

Karnes County officials let bids for a new courthouse and jail on January 4, 1894. They received bids from prominent Texas courthouse designers Alfred Giles and J. Riely Gordon, but awarded the contract to design and build a new county courthouse at this site to John Cormack. Cormack died before finishing the structure and his business associate J. A. Austin completed the job. The courthouse was dedicated on October 25, 1894, and completed on May 29, 1895. Its original turrets and clock tower were removed during 1920s remodeling.

1994
Karnes County courthouse historical marker, Karnes City Texas
Karnes County courthouse historical marker
Photo courtesy William Beauchamp, 2009
Karnes County Courthouse, Karnes City, Texas 1900s
The courthouse & jail
Early 1900s

Photo courtesy texasoldphotos.com
Karnes County Courthouse, Karnes City, Texas, 1915
The courthouse as it appeared in 1915
Photo courtesy texasoldphotos.com
Karnes County Courthouse, Karnes City, Texas
The 1894 Karnes County Courthouse as it appeared in 1939.
Photo courtesy TXDoT

Karnes County Courthouse Under Restoration

Photographer's Note:
"I went down to Karnes City today to check on the progress of the courthouse restoration. It's coming along nicely. All of the exterior stucco has been removed with the exception of a portion of the north side. I love the turret cones! Unfortunately, the foundation wasn't completely stable before they restored the west side entrance and a large crack has appeared over it, so that will have to be fixed. It's finally happening! I'm so happy that this courthouse is being restored!!!" - Terry Jeanson, September 28, 2016
 Karnes City Texas - Karnes County courthouse under restoration
September 2016 - Courthouse under restoration
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson
Karnes City Texas - Karnes County courthouse under restoration
September 2016 - Courthouse under restoration
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson
Karnes City Texas - Karnes County courthouse under restoration
"The picture shows the frame of the clock tower which, hopefully, should be completed and placed on the roof before the end of the year." - Terry Jeanson, September 28, 2016
Karnes City Texas - Karnes County courthouse under restoration
Courthouse under restoration in 2012
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, January 2012
Karnes County courthouse addition, Karnes City Texas

The courthouse in 2007
"South side of the Karnes County courthouse with the modern addition at the rear. The former entrance on the south side is still visible."
- Terry Jeanson, August, 2007 photo

Karnes County courthouse, Karnes City Texas
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, August, 2007
Karnes County courthouse cornerstone, Karnes City Texas
"The cornerstone on the northeast corner has a dedication to architect John Cormack who died during the building's construction."
- Terry Jeanson, August, 2007 photo
Karnes County courthouse south entrance, Karnes City Texas
"The south side entrance is no longer accessible."
- Terry Jeanson, August, 2007
Karnes County courthouse window, Karnes City Texas
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, August, 2007
Karnes County courthouse exposed brick,  Karnes City Texas

More exposed brick on the southeast corner
Terry Jeanson, August, 2007

Karnes County courthouse exposed brick, Karnes City Texas
"Stress from the rear addition has contributed to the cracking in the stucco, revealing the original brick exterior."
- Terry Jeanson, August, 2007
Karnes County courthouse  with cannon, Karnes City, Texas
Cannon
Photo courtesy William Beauchamp, 2009
Karnes County courthouse hitching ring, Karnes City Texas
Photo courtesy William Beauchamp, 2009
Hitching rings, Karnes County courthouse, Karnes City Texas
"Plenty of hitching rings to tie your horse up!"
- William Beauchamp, 2009 photos

The 1873 Karnes County Courthouse

Still standing in Helena, the former county seat.
Architect - John Jacob Riley
1873 Karnes County Courthouse in Helena, Texas
TE Photo, May 2001
The 1873 courthouse in Helena
Karnes County TX Courthouse / Helena School 1900s
First Karnes County Courthouse used as a school
Photo circa 1900-1912 courtesy William Beauchamp
See
Karnes City, Texas
Karnes County
More Texas Courthouses

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