HAMILTON COUNTY COURT HOUSE
Hamilton County was organized in 1858 and the first body
of county officials was elected. It was necessary to have a place or a
court house where the business affairs of the new county and its officials
could be shown proper consideration and dignity. In the sequence of events
the first court house in Hamilton county was built. After numerous
consultations and interviews it seems to be the consensus of opinion that
the first court house was situated where Grant Bros. Grocery store now
stands and that it was built of clapboards or split logs. The date of the
building seems to be unknown but it was in use until the close of the
Civil War when it was destroyed by fire. The official home of the county
was then moved to a building that occupied the place where the old Eli
Terry livery stable stood at a later date. It remained there until the
increase of the county and town population led the county officials to
determine it advisable to build a new court house. A site was chosen in
what was considered the center of the future town. The second court house
of Hamilton County was built of county stone and was a two story building
with the necessary conveniences of that early day. This first real court
house was constructed by the building firm of Martin-Burns-Johnson. It was
the most prideful possession of the Hamilton County citizenship.
In the early ‘80s [1880's] fire again destroyed
the courthouse. Most of the official papers were burned at the same time.
The sheriff, county judge, and other county officials moved to the old
stone jail. The City Bakery now occupies part of the old building. The
remaining offices found quarters wherever they could until another
courthouse was built. It was ready for occupancy about 1886. This building
was also of Hamilton County stone and complete in conveniences in use at
that time. This third courthouse was built by the firm of Lovel-Hood and
McCloud at a cost of about $31,000.
With the passing of time the county officials felt the
need of larger quarters for county and judiciary affairs. After due
consultations and considerations with builders and architects, the plans
were submitted by E. M. Mills of Brownwood were accepted and the contract
let for construction to J. C. Ray and Son of Dallas. They now own the
marble works of Hamilton and are residents of this city. The old
courthouse was entirely dismantled, leaving nothing but the four outer
walls. New wings and porch towers were added on the north and south ends
of the building. Enlarged entrances on the east and west sides with larger
passageways through the lower floor were added. While the entire
courthouse is fireproof, the south wing houses the vaults which are
themselves of fireproof construction. They furnish rooms to care for the
county records for a century hence, according to reliable estimates. In
addition, the lower floor houses all county offices and the county court
The district court room, the witness rooms, jury rooms,
and entrances occupy the entire second floor.
The heating plant, rest rooms and sewage are in the
north end of the basement and the south end is used to house old records,
not used any more. All the basement excavation work was done by day
laborers. The contract price for the building was $165,000 but when
completed the cost price was a few hundred dollars higher because of a few
additional details that were added from time to time.
Hamilton now has one of the most modern and best
equipped small town court houses in the state. Its size and efficient in
every detail makes it unnecessary for another court house to be built for
many years to come. The county court official body is headed by Judge P.
M. Rice were [sic] the county commissioners: W. D. Snell, S. A.
Clark, C. C. C. Newton, and O. R. Barker.
The Hamilton County News, Vol. IV, Number
Historical and Trading Expansion Issue
W. F. Billingslea, Editor-Publisher
Subscription Price ONE YEAR ..$1.00
June 29, 1934
1. September, 1863
2, March 17, 1877
3, February 2, 1886