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Red River County Courthouse

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1885, W. H. Wilson; 2003 rehabilitated, Archi-Texas. 400 N. Walnut St.

In 1881, the State of Texas passed legislation allowing counties to finance the construction of courthouses and jails through the sale of tax-supported revenue bonds. This courthouse was one of the first completed in this statewide building program. County commissioners seized the opportunity to relocate the courthouse from the public square to a site three blocks to the northwest. This placed the new courthouse closer to the Texas and Pacific Railway station (not extant) and allowed the existing square to be used as a public market. Dallas-based William H. Wilson incorporated Renaissance detailing into both this courthouse and a near-identical one he was concurrently designing in Henrietta for Clay County. Both buildings featured an abbreviated Greek cross plan with north and south wings formed by projecting stairwells. This courthouse’s distinguishing feature is the unusual placement of single, detached columns and pedestals at the outside corners of the building’s four wings. Each of the columns terminates with a stone finial that penetrates through a bold sheet-metal cornice. The courthouse’s warm, honey-colored exterior stone was quarried fifty miles to the west in Honey Grove. A four-sided clock manufactured by the E. Howard Clock and Watch Co. of Boston has faces on the convex mansard roofs of the sheet metal cupola. The courthouse was rehabilitated in 2003 with funding from the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program.

One block west of the courthouse at W. Madison and Pecan streets is the Old Jail Museum (Red River County Jail; 1889, Marshall Sanguinet and S. B. Haggart), a distinguished, two-story structure that resembles the courthouse in its details and materials, including the projecting piers (instead of columns) at the building’s corners. Jail cells were ordered from the Pauly Jail Building Company. Today the building is managed as the Old Jail Museum by the Red River County Historical Society.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


Gerald Moorhead et al., "Red River County Courthouse", [Clarksville, 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, 136-137.

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