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.
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Gonzales County Courthouse
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