Armstrong County has been home to two courthouses, both located in Claude. The first, a frame building was used until a stone courthouse was built in 1912. The 1912 courthouse has been in use for over 100 years.
|First Armstrong County Courthouse, built about 1890. Photo from A Collection of Memories: A History of Armstrong County, 1876–1965|
Armstrong County Courthouse 1890 – First Courthouse, a vernacular frame building, built about 1890. According to the Handbook of Texas Online, Claude’s residents went to the courthouse square for water at the public trough, which was shaded by a cottonwood tree. One early resident recalled that the old wooden courthouse “always smelled of tobacco and disinfectant.”
|The Current Armstrong County Courthouse, built in 1912. Photo from the Texas Historic Sites Atlas.|
Armstrong County Courthouse 1912 – Current Courthouse.
Classic Revival Style building designed Elmer George Withers and constructed by L. R. Wright & Co., Dallas. 4-story limestone building with jail facilities on fourth floor. Aluminum frame windows set in vertical relief emphasize the vertical. Entrance loggia features modern fluted columns.
|Close Up of the Current Armstrong County Courthouse|
The building is a center hall plan with shallow pavillions on each side of the basically rectangular building. There is also a classical portico on the front facade with an irregular stone pediment and Ionic columns. The raised basement is smooth ashlar, the first-story level is blond brick layed in an horizontal band pattern at regular intervals, and the second- and third-stories are blond brick, and an irregular stone entablature or cornice caps the walls of each facade. Style sometimes referred to as Texas Renaissance.
1948 Copper pediments and entablature removed.
1964 Interior renovation, Rittenberry & Rittenbery.
1987 ADA improvements–elevators added.
1991 Restoration of courtroom.