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Gonzales County Courthouse

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1894, J. Riely Gordon; 1997 restoration, Volz and Associates. St. Louis St. between St. Joseph and St. Paul sts.
  • (Photograph by Gerald Moorhead )
  • Hopkins County Courthouse (The Lyda Hill Texas Collection of Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith's America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)

The pyramidal massing of Gordon's Romanesque Revival design is organized around the central tower, whose exterior carries four clock faces. The arms of the cruciform plan are joined by four curved entrance porches placed at the reentrant angles, a Gordon innovation in courthouse design, introduced here and at the near-twin Hopkins County Courthouse in Sulphur Springs in northeast Texas, also built in 1894. Gordon's use of red brick instead of stone (Hopkins County Courthouse is built of Texas pink granite and red sandstone) is unusual in his courthouses, indicating a need for a more economical material. The interior clearly demonstrates that the tower was crucial to Gordon's design, serving to house the staircase that leads to the courtroom on the second floor and to draw hot air upward for natural ventilation. The courthouse may have been built without Gordon's direct involvement, since his favorite contractor, Otto Kroeger, provided the plans and spoke at the building's dedication.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


Gerald Moorhead et al., "Gonzales County Courthouse", [Gonzales, Texas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Texas

Buildings of Texas: Central, South, and Gulf Coast, Gerald Moorhead and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 190-191.

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