This five-story monumental edifice presides over downtown Texarkana, a grand gesture of civic optimism and interstate cooperation. Houses were removed and streets were rerouted to prepare its prominent site at the crest of a hill. This is the only courthouse in the country to straddle two state lines: each state has its own courtroom, the post office has two zip codes, and the state line marker at the west entrance is an irresistible magnet for tourists eager to be photographed standing in two states simultaneously.
The building’s steel-reinforced-concrete rectangular frame is faced with pinkish Texas granite at the base and smooth-cut Arkansas limestone on the upper walls. On the south elevation facing downtown, the Beaux-Arts classical style is reflected in the four colossal Ionic columns rising over a rusticated plinth containing three arched entrances with bronze doors. Pilasters supporting a dentiled entablature surround the building, providing continuity. With an Art Deco flair, two stylized cast-stone eagles frame the tall central parapet inscribed with the name of the building. The north end contains the postal loading platform. Because of its continual use as both a courthouse and post office, much of the original fabric of both exterior and interior remains.
In contrast to the somewhat austere quality of the exterior, the interior is lavishly decorated with marble-sheathed walls, bronze grilles, and gilded coffered ceilings. The original architect-designed bronze writing tables with classical motifs are still used in the post office. The courtrooms contain raised judges’ benches set within a pediment and a surround of golden-veined marble. Although built during the Great Depression, the building predates such New Deal programs as the WPA and the PWA and was constructed through appropriations allotted under the 1926 Public Buildings Act.