Lamar County Courthouses
Lamar County has had three county seats and six courthouses during its 170+ years of existance.
Lamar County Courthouse, Lafayette, built in 1841. Lafayette served as the county seat from Jun 1841-Jun 1843. “Why Lafayette was abandoned is not known. Some old citizens have said it was because good water could not be gotten in wells there. Others think it was because the site was too far north. Lamar County at that time extended through Delta county, and the law required county seats to be not more than five miles from the geographical center of a county, and Lafayette was outside that allowance.” – Lamar County TXGenWeb site.
Mount Vernon, county seat Jun 1843-Apr 1844. Historical Marker Text. Here on 100 acres donated by Mathias Click was the second county seat of Lamar County — Mount Vernon — where court was held June, 1843, to April, 1844 when Paris was made the county seat – John A. Rutherford, chief justice – John R. Craddock, county clerk Marker located on CR 12600, near southern intersection with FM 1497 (6.4 miles from center of Paris). No courthouse was erected. Court was held under a large bois d’arc tree or at Click Tavern. County seat moved to Paris in Apr 1844.
Lamar County Courthouse, Paris, built in 1844.
Lamar County Courthouse, Paris, built in 1847.
Lamar County Courthouse, Paris, built in 1875. Second Empire style built by John McDonald. Mansard roofs, stone quoining, dormers, crestings, bracketed cornices, and high brick chimneys. 2 stories. Demolished.
Lamar County Courthouse, Paris, built in 1896. Richardsonian Romanesque style built by Martin, Byrne & Johnson, contractors. The exterior walls were built with Texas granite. Designed with a Greek cross plan, with corner pavilion entrances at the reentrant angles, topped with pyramidal roofs. Central clock tower. Destroyed by fire in 1916 when the business district and most of the town burned on March 21, 1916.
Lamar County Courthouse, Paris, built in 1917. The March 1916 fire that left downtown Paris in ruins ravaged Lamar County’s massive 1897 Romanesque courthouse and tower, once thought indestructible. On April 20, 1916, the Lamar County Commissioners Court chose local designers and builders William G. Barry, Edwin R. Smith and Elmer George Withers to work with the Fort Worth architectural firm of Sanguinet & Staats to design a new courthouse. The county judge and commissioners court and Carl G. Staats reviewed the designs of several courthouses around the state. Some Paris residents requested that the new courthouse be built in the center of its lot in keeping with the city’s plans for wide roads at the town square, but the court decided that it would be more efficient to build the new structure upon the same foundation as the old courthouse. The upper ruins of the old courthouse were dismantled by July 1916. In late August the commissioners chose J. C. Buchanan and J. N. Gilder of Fort Worth, who did significant work in rebuilding Paris after the fire, to serve as contractors. Construction began in September. By that time the restoration and renovation of several other buildings around the square was nearing completion, and downtown Paris took on a modern appearance. Completed by November 1917, the new courthouse was built of fireproof concrete covered by rough pink granite salvaged from the 1897 building. Distinctive features of the imposing Classical edifice include corner pavilions and engaged granite columns and the Classical cornice with matching terra cotta ornament (notably eagles and medallions). Marked by triple-arched porticos, the primary entrances echo the Romanesque style of the original structure. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark-2000.