Saturday, June 23, 2012

Bibliography of Texas County Courthouse History

Find in a library with WorldCat

We've compiled a bibliography of "Texas County Courthouse History" via the World Cat catalog, an interfiling of holdings of thousands of libraries around the world.  The list is limited to those holdings and our list here is limited to only books and academic theses, but our list does include about 150 items of those, almost all of which relate to a particular county's structure, including a couple of celebratory cookbooks.  The list, of course, does include a few books on Texas courthouses in general, such as Dr. Kelsey's and Mr. Dyal's recent book The Courthouses of Texas, and the recent biographical book on the architect J. Reily Gordon.  World Cat also cites many other forms (microform, ebooks, videos, photos, computer files, etc., and even a musical score) of information on the topic, but we start with books.  You can see that list at
If you'd like to have us send you the list as an attached document, just let us know.

Using WorldCat can be challenging.  A search for the words <Texas courthouse> brings over 1000 entries, for <Texas court house>  2000 entries, <Texas "court house"> over 200.  There are many books which are inventories of records in the courthouses, and we weren't interested in those lists, so we settled on the search <Texas courthouse -inventory> which gave us about 350 entries.  From that list we selected the 150 for the list.  Certainly some were missed.  Let us know.
We'll be compiling further varied sources as time goes on, but here's this one.

Monday, June 11, 2012

St. Louis Brick Video

The Courthouse's upper four exterior floors are clad with St. Louis hydraulic pressed brick, a special variation for strength.  St. Louis, the city itself, is known for being the Gateway to the West, the Cardinals, and the modern, soaring arch.   But the nearby clay beds have given the city's architecture a unique story for its brick variety and architectural continuity many places lacked because so many of its structures were wooden.

Bill Steeter and some folks at the fork of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers have prepared a full length documentary on the impact of St. Louis brick.  See a trailer of their DVD "Brick: By Chance or Fortune: A St. Louis Story" at

Or go to Streeter's Youtube account

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lang and Witchell in the Handbook of Texas

The architectural firm for whom Charles Barglebaugh designed the 1910 Courthouse was the Dallas firm Lang and Witchell.
 The Texas State Historical Association's online encyclopedia The Handbook of Texas at offers a few articles of interest. Searches for the terms "Lang" and "Witchell" brought these articles:
"Bossom, Alfred Charles" by Mary Carolyn Hollers George summarizes the life of the English architect and Member of Parliament who spent considerable time in the US.  The article includes a reference to his firm's association with the Lang and Withcell firm on Bossom's work on Dallas' 1918 American Exchange and National Bank.  Bossom's contribution to the Houston skyline is the Petroleum Building of 1925-26.  Returning to England Bossom was president of the Anglo-Texan Society for about 30 years. 
Read more at:
"Architecture" is a lengthy article by Willard B. Robinson wherein this paragraph appears in a comparative gesture:
"While regional or early modern designs appeared in many residential edifices after the turn of the century, civic buildings generally were either Beaux-Arts Classical, a massive, heavy, monumental style, or Neo-Classical Revival, a graceful, dignified mode. The Harris County Courthouse, Houston (1911), a massive work, crowned with a dome designed by the firm of Lang and Witchell, exemplifies the former, while the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (1924), a handsome work with an Ionic colonnade designed by William Ward Watkin, represents the latter." 
Read more at:
"Lang, Otto" is a biographical summary by Heater Watkins.
"LANG, OTTO H. (1864–1947). Otto H. Lang, architect, was born in Freiburg, Germany, on December 2, 1864. In 1888 he traveled to the United States on a wedding trip and stayed to make his home in Dallas, Texas. He worked in local architects' offices for two years and then became responsible for architecture and design for the Texas and Pacific Railway. In this position Lang designed the Texas and Pacific depot in Fort Worth. He also eventually designed railroad stations in Wichita Falls, Amarillo, Paris, and Weatherford. He formed a partnership with Frank O. Wichell in 1905 and began practicing in Dallas. Lang worked on many architectural projects in that city, including the Southwestern Life Building, the White Plaza Hotel, Exposition Hall at Fair Park, Fair Park Auditorium, and the Sanger Brothers Department Store. He also worked on the Dallas Gas Company Building, the Wholesale Merchants Building, the Southland Life Building, the Cotton Exchange Building, the Jefferson Hotel, Highland Park High School, the Texas Bank Building, and the Adolphus Hotel Annex. He designed courthouses in Houston, Gainesville, Snyder, and Cleburne. Other projects included improvements of the Dallas street-lighting system, local street repair, and work on the garbage disposal facilities. From 1915 to 1919 he served two terms as Dallas street commissioner.
At his retirement in 1942, Lang gave his library on architecture and engineering to the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (now Texas A&M University) and his file of technical journals to Southern Methodist University. Lang was a member of the American Society of Construction Engineers and the Texas Association of Architects. He was a thirty-second-degree Scottish Rite Mason, a Knight Templar, and a member of the Hella Temple Shrine. For many years he was a member of the Dallas Chamber of Commerce. He had one son and two daughters. Lang died in Dallas on October 18, 1947, and was buried at Restland Memorial Park in Dallas."

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Johnson County Cousin Details by Barglebaugh

Trevor Huxham provides this photo (via Creative Commons copyright in Flickr) of the 1912 JOHNSON County Courthouse by Barglebaugh at
The capitals have an Art Nouveau touch, a bell tower instead of a dome, an inscribed frieze on the entablature, no actual pediment but the filigree in its place is similar to the pasterwork inside Harris' 1910 by Barglebaugh.

Johnson County Cousin by Barglebaugh

A frontal view of Barglebaugh's JOHNSON County Courthouse in Cleburne.

Photo courtesy Trevor Huxam via Creative Commons in Flickr

Johnson County's Cousin Atrium and Skylight by Barglebaugh

Another of Trevor Huxham's Creative Commons photos of the JOHNSON County (Cleburne) Courthouse by Barglebaugh.

Johnson County Courthouse Cousin by Barglebaugh

Barglebaugh designed more than the 1910 Harris County Courthouse, including one for Johnson County, Cleburne, Texas
Thanks to  Trevor Huxham      for his Creative Commons photo of the Texas Historical Marker.