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Brazoria County Courthouse

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1940, Lamar Q. Cato; 1977 addition, Joiner, Coburn and King. 100 E. Locust St.

Rising from the center of a town block just north of downtown Angleton, the courthouse is a modernistic tour de force. The symmetrically composed building is four stories tall atop a full-story raised basement, faced with fossilized Texas limestone above a base course of unpolished Texas granite. Cato combined these materials of Texan regional identity with streamlined modern materials: steel windows stacked in vertical channels separated by brushed aluminum spandrel panels. Cato also incorporated carved stone and cast-aluminum relief sculpture. Allegorical relief figures above the south-facing front doors memorialize the sources of Brazoria County's wealth: sulfur, oil, cotton, fishing, and cattle ranching. The personifications of cotton cultivation are two African American women, an icon of the role that slavery, and then tenant farming, played in the county's Deep South economy. The height of the basement occasioned a monumental stair, flanked by stepped limestone parapets. Only one of the pair of modernistic aluminum torchères atop the parapets, with American eagles in low relief, remains in place. A substantial brick extension was made to the rear (north) elevation of the courthouse in 1977.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Gerald Moorhead et al.
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Citation

Gerald Moorhead et al., "Brazoria County Courthouse", [Angleton, Texas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/TX-01-AS1.

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