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Newton County Courthouses

Courthouses

Newton County Courthouse 1848, Burkeville - First Courthouse.  Two story wooden building. Abandoned when the county seat moved to Newton in 1953.

First Courthouse of Newton County. County organized in 1846; Seat of Justice not established until two years later by public subscription. A building was erected here in 1848 on land donated by John R. Burke for whom the town received its name. Newton became the county seat in 1853. - Historical Marker Text. Marker erected 1936. Located on State Highway 87, 1 mile south of the junction of SH 87 & SH 63, Burkeville.

Newton County Courthouse 1856, Newton - Second Courthouse. Erected on the courthouse square in Newton, after Newton became the county seat in 1853. Maj. John Moore, an early settler who built the first house in Newton, built the county's second courthouse (the first in Newton) -- a two-story frame structure. It was finished in 1856.

Newton County Courthouse 1902Newton County Courthouse 1902-03, Newton - Current Courthouse

Built in 1902-1903 by contractors Martin and Moody of Comanche, Texas, the three-story courthouse is composed of structural masonry walls set on a continuous brick footing five to six feet below grade, five feet wide at the base, stepping in to 24" wide at grade level. The walls are 24" thick around the vault area, 18" thick on the first and second floors, and taper to 12" on the third floor. The locally kilned bricks, originally exposed on the exterior, are laid in cement mortar and tempered with lime. In an effort to preclude the possibility of cracked walls, small mortar joints were employed to compensate for any foundation setting.

The structure originally consisted of four symmetrical facades, the north and south, and east and west being identical respectively. The three remaining original facades are composed of five projecting bays with the central bay projecting the farthest. Entrances, located in the central bays, are accentuated with bracket-supported, balustraded balconies of masonry construction. The smooth plaster walls of the bays are offset by decorative quoins and hood moldings. The moldings take the form of segmented, triangular, and rounded and flat keystone arches. A continuous architrave molding rest, atop the quoins and projecting from this architrave are pair of brackets which support the eaves, trimmed with cornice molding. The central projecting bays are crested with a classical pediment in which a floral form is denoted in shallow relief. The original structure is topped with a mansard roof composed of painted, pressed metal. The roof is pierced with both round and arched dormers as well as two chimneys. Rising from the center of the roof is a truncated clock tower. The tower consist of an open-sided belfry terminated with a pilaster supported apron. Rising from the apron are clock facades topped with pedimented architrave and mansard roof. Original windows were double hung with wooden mullions, and doors were wooden with glass and wood insets and over door transoms. The interior featured tile and wooden floors, high ceilings with fans, plaster walls, and wooden staircases. - National Register Listing.

Photo, above left, Newton County Courthouse as it looked in 1902, from the Texas Historic Sites Atlas.

Martin and Moodie designed the Newton County Courthouse in 1902. With its three-dimensional massing and prominent mansard roofs, the building is reminiscent of the nineteenth-century Second Empire style. The structure originally consisted of four symmetrical facades, the north and south, and east and west being identical respectively.

Newton County Courthouse, Newton, Texas early 1900sIn 1936, the square form of the original symmetrical plan was changed when a two-story courthouse annex and jail were added to the south side of the building. The three-story courthouse is composed of structural masonry walls set on a continuous brick footing. The locally fired brick, originally exposed on the exterior, is laid in cement mortar and tempered with lime. When the courthouse annex and jail were added in 1936, these walls were covered with an application of cement stucco with a coarse aggregate. The three remaining original facades are composed of five projecting bays, with the central bay projecting the farthest. Entrances, located in the central bays, are accentuated with bracket-supported, balustraded balconies. The smooth plaster walls of the bays are offset by decorative quoins and hood moldings in the form of segmented, triangular, rounded and flat keystone arches. The central projecting bays are crested with a classical pediment on which a floral form is captured in a shallow relief. Originally, the windows were double hung with wooden mullions, and the doors were wooden with glass and wood insets over the door transoms.

In 1972, the original doors and windows were replaced with aluminum and glass counterparts. The structure is topped with a mansard roof composed of painted, pressed metal. The roof is pierced with both round and arched dormers as well as two chimneys. Rising from the center of the roof is a truncated clock tower that consists of an open-sided belfry and is terminated with a pilaster-supported apron. The clock facades are topped with a pediment architrave and mansard roof. - Historic Courthouse Listing

The Newton County Courthouse burned on August 4, 2000. The fire, which originated in the bell tower, damaged 95% of the building. In 2002, the Courthouse was rebuilt and restored to its 1937 appearance.

Photo from the Southeast Texas Record.

Newton County Courthouse. This Courthouse was preceded by one built in Burkeville in 1848, and another erected on this public square in 1853. It is a Second Empire style edifice, with an unusual truncated clock tower, mansard roof, and corner quoins, built in 1902-03 by contractors Martin & Moody of Comanche; from brick made on nearby Caney Creek. The interior was altered in 1910 and 1925, and the jail added in 1936. Restored in 1972-73. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1974. Historical Marker Text.  Marker erected 1974.

Location

30° 50' 54.708" N, 93° 45' 26.64" W