Tarrant County History 1922
Public Buildings, Roads and Bridges. Tarrant County justly claims to have the finest public buildings and the best system of roads and bridges of any county in the state. The Tarrant County courthouse, erected in 1894, is of Texas granite from Burnett County, and is an attractive and commodious building. It has three stories and a basement, which comfortably cares for all of the county officers, district officers and the Court of Civil Appeals. It cost in the neighborhood of $500,000 and is easily the finest county building in the country.
The Criminal Court Building provides for the offices of the sheriff, the criminal court and the county jail, It is an imposing three-story structure, with all modern equipment and conveniences.
Tarrant County was the first county in the state to inaugurate a system of public roads with convict labor. It secured the enactment. by the Legislature, of a law providing that short-term convicts might be worked on the county roads. The limitation was that the convicts who were sentenced to the penitentiary for a period less than two years might be so utilized. It soon became a custom of the juries to assess a penalty a little less than two years, by which means men convicted in the Tarrant County courts served their sentences by working on the Tarrant County roads. This compensated in a large measure for the expense incident to their trials.
These roads were constructed with gravel, to a large extent, and extended to all the principal points in the county. There was erected over every stream on every public road in the county a substantial steel bridge.
In 1913 the county voted a bond issue of $1,600,000 for the con struction of roads and bridges in Tarrant County. On the proceeds of these bonds $600,000 were set aside for the construction of the Paddock Viaduct, across the Trinity. and the Seventh Street Viaduct, across Clear Fork. Both of these structures are of concrete and reinforced steel and are solid and substantial. One million dollars was used in constructing 136 miles of bituminous surfaced roads radiating out of Fort Worth in every direction.
In July, 1920, the county voted another bond issue of $3,450,000 with which to construct a system of highways, second to none in the state, totaling in number sixty-eight. with a gross mileage of 375 miles. To this fund the Federal Bureau of Public Roads, through the State Highway Department, allotted to Tarrant County $375,000, which is to be expended on the two state highways, known as the "Bankhead Highway," running east and west, and the "Miridian," running north and south through Tarrant County. In addition to these two highways, which are to be constructed with federal and state aid, there are three other roads, one leading to the southwest, from Fort Worth, another to the southeast, from Mansfield to Waxahachi, while the third leads from Fort Worth to Denton.