You are here

Polk County Courthouse

-A A +A
1924, McLelland and Fink; 2013 rehabilitated, Bailey Architects. 101 Church St.

Houston-based John McLelland’s classical design took advantage of the sloping site to create the effect of a temple on an acropolis. The building is three stories in height on a partially raised basement acting as a podium. On all four sides, end bays in buff brick frame the building’s recessed central bays with their monumental Tuscan columns supporting a tall entablature. A bold cornice and a balustraded parapet conclude the building and wrap the projecting and receding masses. The steel windows, which are set close to the face of the masonry, are currently painted white, which makes the walls appear very thin. Originally, the windows and plaster transoms were painted black, making the visual effect of a deep, dark penetration through the wall. The courthouse is being rehabilitated (begun 2013) in stages with funding from the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program.

The architectural treasure on the courthouse square is the courthouse Annex (1905, L. S. Green), a two-story red brick records vault built to supplement the previous courthouse of 1884 by Eugene T. Heiner. The Annex is in extremely poor condition, and its walls are supported by large exterior braces.

Across from the courthouse on the 100 block of W. Mill Street is the Polk County Justice Center (2011, Hester and Sanders Architecture). It appears to be a full block of rehabilitated buildings, but only the northeast corner has original historic walls; the rest are new posing as historic.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


Gerald Moorhead et al., "Polk County Courthouse", [Livingston, 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, 33-34.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.