​Texas County Courthouses

Architecture: The Detailed Beauty of Texas Courthouses

One doesn't have to be a county official to appreciate the joy of a beautiful county courthouse. Several coffee-table books and numerous websites offer photos that identify the courthouses as well as the unique architectural styles in which they were built. But what does it mean to say that a building is “Second Empire” or “Beaux Arts” or “Art Deco?”

To find out, County asked photojournalist Amber Novak to consult with architects who specialize in courthouse styles and then head out to counties around the state to capture the unique elements that earn particular courthouses their architectural labels.

The following five photo essays in County magazine highlight the architectural styles of several courthouses.

First, we start with related styles from the turn of the 20th Century (1900): Renaissance Revival and Italianate

In the second article, we explore French Second Empire and Romanesque Revival courthouses of the late 1800's.

The third article looks at the early 20th Century styles of Neoclassical Revival and Beaux-Art Classicism.

The late 1920's to the early 1940's marked the Art Moderne and Art Deco trend of courthouse design in Texas as noted in the fourth article of the series.

The final article in the series looks at post-World War II courthouses, which follow the dictates of Brutalism and Modernistic schools, often indistinguishable from contemporary office buildings.