Friday, March 29, 2013

Old Blanco County Courthouse

West entrance (faces Highway 281)
This is the Old Blanco County Courthouse located in Blanco, Texas.  It was built in 1885-1886 and was officially put into use on January 29, 1886 as the Blanco County Courthouse; however, four years later the county seat would be moved to nearby Johnson City.  The building's many uses in the following eighty years are described at the Old Blanco County Courthouse website.

North entrance
Frederick Ernst Ruffini was the building's architect.  He advertised himself as a designer of courthouses, jails, and public and commercial buildings. He passed away in November, 1885 while this building was still under construction.  Also under construction at that time was another of his designs, the Old Main Building at the University of Texas.

South and east entrances
Preservation efforts began in 1986 after the building had fallen into disrepair.  When townspeople learned that the building was going to be dismantled and moved to a private location they came together in an effort to stop the move.  They were successful and were able to pass a Historic District ordinance to protect other buildings. 

Click here to see a picture of the building with a "Help Save Me" banner and to read the entire preservation story.  This picture is kind, the building looked far worse in reality!  I remember driving by several times and seeing some fund raising effort going on and thinking, "Go People, Go!" and wishing them success.  Now I'm older and wiser and I would pull over and buy a plate of barbeque or whatever to help out a group like this!  I also remember from the news reports that it was a tough battle.  But they were successful and in May 1998 the Old Blanco County Courthouse was rededicated.

In a future post I'll open one of the doors and explore the inside of the building!

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