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Bexar County Courtroom Restored to 1890s Stature

Eileen Pace


Bexar County Commissioners celebrated the grand re-opening of a historic courtroom Tuesday. The second-floor presiding court in the Bexar County Courthouse was restored to the original distinction it held in 1897.

The stately courtroom is again the largest in the historic courthouse, spanning two floors with a full-width second-story gallery where spectators can view the proceedings below.

Funds for the renovation were raised through the Hidalgo Foundation, started in 2001 by Tracy Wolff. She said the entire courtroom, including the wood floors reclaimed from other historic buildings, was restored to its exact look from the late 1890s.

The floors in this room that are so magnificent come from - are about 300 years old - from some older buildings. We found this wood from the Steves family. Part of it is from the old Joske's. But the Steves family had been keeping the wood," she said.

Wolff said the rose windows that can be seen on the north and east sides of the room were hidden under interior walls installed over the years and discovered through demolition.

Credit Eileen Pace
Bexar Co. Clerk Gerry Rickhoff views historic documents that depict origins of the Romanesque Revival Courthouse. The documents are on display for a short time before they are re-archived for preservation.

The project is part of the overall renovation of the courthouse that also has seen the removal of the mid-century Gondek addition on the way to restoring the entire courthouse exterior to its original, historic condition.