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Potter County Courthouse

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1932, Townes, Lightfoot and Funk; Page Brothers, consulting architects; 2012 rehabilitated, TWC Architects. 500 S. Fillmore St.

The county’s first courthouse, designed in 1904 by James Edward Flanders of Dallas, occupied the center of the courthouse square. It was demolished in 1931 for this new facility constructed on the east side of the square, which faces west across a lawn planted with irregular groves of trees. The courthouse is a stepped block with four- and five-story wings rising to a central eight-story mass. Faced with cream-colored glazed terracotta, the ziggurat-like mass of the imposing building dominates the square. The model for the building’s design and architectonic ornamentation is Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue’s Nebraska State Capitol (1922–1932). The building’s main and rear entrances each have a central portico decorated with cactus pads ( nopales) in relief. The courthouse was rehabilitated in 2012 with funding from the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program.

William C. Townes (1883–1961), born in Haskell, arrived in Amarillo as a carpenter in 1905. He worked for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway during World War I, later forming partnerships with J. Roy Smith (Smith and Townes, 1920–1924), Raby Funk (Townes, Lightfoot and Funk, 1927–1939), and as W. C. Townes after 1939. Townes, with his partner Raby Funk, designed twenty-seven courthouses in Texas and New Mexico and numerous schools throughout the Panhandle.

To the rear of the courthouse at 501 S. Fillmore Street is the Potter County Courts Building (1986, Hucker and Pargé, with Ward Brown, associate). Its stepped composition and vertical bands of travertine and bronze solar glass windows emulate the form and the stacked windows of the courthouse, while a glass pyramid-shaped entrance pavilion anchors a pair of rounded tower-like wings.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


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

Print Source

Buildings of Texas

Buildings of Texas: East, North Central, Panhandle and South Plains, and West, Gerald Moorhead and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2019, 334-335.

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