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Jackson County Courthouse

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1953, F. Perry Johnston. 115 W. Main St.

Close inspection reveals Houston architect Johnston's skill at translating (very conservatively, it must be conceded) Frank Lloyd Wright's precepts into the design and detailing of a modern public administration building. The precise horizontality of Johnston's exposed concrete copings and window bands and his assured combination of slurry-faced Roman brick, an embedded vertical pylon of split-faced ledgestone, and smooth spandrels of Texas limestone give this deliberately non-monumental building material solidity. The volumetric way in which the cantilevered second-story limestone spandrel intersects the recessed two-story-high glass bay that contains the main entrance and the clever incorporation of a modern, integral clock face on the limestone wall plane give the entrance the ceremonial presence that symmetrical composition would earlier have imparted. The courthouse does not dominate downtown Edna the way earlier generations of Texas courthouses aspired to do. But it does provide a modernist, mid-twentieth-century alternative that deserves respectful attention. Of the historical monuments stationed on the courthouse lawn, the most distinctive in terms of design is the Texas Centennial Monument to Jackson County of 1936 by sculptor Raoul Josset with Austin architects Page and Southerland.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Gerald Moorhead et al.

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