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Coryell County Courthouse

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1898, W. C. Dodson. 620 E. Main St.

This imposing three-story courthouse possesses a strong neoclassical character, unlike Dodson’s earlier Second Empire–styled courthouses, although his eclectic use of classical features was still within the framework of his Second Empire designs. It is more refined, if smaller, than his Denton County Courthouse (DD1), built two years earlier, and is constructed of local cream-colored limestone with red sandstone trim. The courthouse is cruciform in massing, but because Coryell County required a tower with a clock and a bell, it has a central rotunda over the traditional cross-axial plan. Thus the second-floor courtroom is to one side of the building, rather than in the center, and its curved shape projects on the northeast. J. Riely Gordon had developed this scheme for Wise County Courthouse (1896; DD26) in what is known as his “signature plan.” Dodson was often in head-to-head competition with Gordon, his former employee.

The courthouse’s principal entrance on the south side is accessed via a broad flight of steps rising to a triple-arched entrance of six red sandstone Corinthian columns and a tall pediment. The building’s four corners are topped with domes, and the tower, on a tall octagonal drum, has four tall dormers for the Seth Thomas clock. The skyline is further animated by over-life-size sculptures of Liberty and Justice framing the central pediments of the north and south elevations.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


Gerald Moorhead et al., "Coryell County Courthouse", [Gatesville, 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, 259-259.

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