Monday, May 30, 2016

Navarro County Courthouse

The 1905 Navarro County Courthouse in Corsicana, Texas, is in the final stages of a renovation/restoration project that is returning it to its original layout and design. The two-year project is close to being completed.  There have been some surprises and setbacks as the work progressed, but the contractor referred to them as "the nature of the beast" in historic restoration projects. Craftsman of all kinds have applied their skills to every inch of the courthouse. (Corsicana Daily Sun November 30, 2015)

This is Navarro County's fifth courthouse.  Corsicana was named the county seat in 1848 and a log cabin served as the courthouse until a permanent courthouse was built at this site in 1853; 2 years later it would burn and then be re-built. Interestingly, one account of the fire that I read revealed that the fire was an act of arson by criminals who were attempting to destroy the record of their indictments! An elaborate courthouse was completed in 1880 and condemned in 1904 after problems with the foundation shifting. 
J.E. Flanders of Dallas designed the 1905 building in the Beaux Arts Classical Revival style. Built of Burnet red granite and grey bricks its original cost came in at $175,000. A 1964 renovation cost approximately $350,000. The current project is partially funded by a $7.5 million bond referendum passed in 2013 of which $4.7 million was a local match for a Round VII $4.4 million Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program grant. Total costs will probably come in somewhat higher as there was the discovery of extensive plaster damage to the walls in addition to the added cost of adding a fire suppression system to bring the building into compliance with city codes.