building's beauty and symmetry is stunning from afar, but it is
the intricate sculptures that grace the courthouse's exterior that
have attracted the most attention and speculation.
A series of intricately carves stone faces grace each of the four
porch capitals, ranging from the sublime to the grotesque. Legend
has it that German itinerant stone carver Harry Herley fell in love
with the local girl Mabel Frame, whose grandmother operated the
boarding house where he resided while sculpting all the courthouse's
exterior ornamentation. Herley loved Mabel Frame dearly, the myth
proclaims, but she did not return his love. The beautiful likenesses
of Mabel portrayed on the stone porticoes soon turned into demons.
Time and the dwindling love affair are portrayed as one walks around
While a lovely legend, there is no factual basis for the story.
Harry Herley is credited with being the master carver for the Waxahachie
project, but more than likely, he carved only a portion of the portraits
and supervised several other carvers, all of whom worked for Theodore
Beilharz, a master stone carver in Dallas.
The carvings were probably made in Dallas at the Beilharz yard and
shop and shipped to Waxahachie in their finished condition, ready
No connection between Herley and Frame can be documented and soon
after the carvings were finished, Herley married a woman named Minnie
Hodges. Despite the lack of evidence, the legend regarding the courthouse
portraits survives and adds an extra element of romance and intrigue
to an already significant architectural landmark." - Kelly McMichael
Stott - Waxahachie: Where Cotton Reigned King, Arcadia Publishing,