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Texas Matters: The Story Of The County Courthouse

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Ryan Loyd | Texas Public Radio
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Bexar County Courthouse

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There are 254 counties in Texas and every one has a particular building that is a symbol of state government power, authority and justice. It’s the county courthouse. They are literally at center of the county seat and are delivering a deliberate message through architecture about society’s relationship to government and the community’s aspirations. 

The book "The Courthouses of Central Texas" by Brantley Hightower takes a unique comparative look at the courthouses. 

As built artifacts, the county courthouses of central Texas tell a compelling story of a particular part of the country over a specific period of time. But more than a mere index of a building type, this project seeks to describe how county courthouses and the squares in which they sit relate to the larger communities that surround them. As well as showing how society's architectural tastes have changed over time, these buildings also demonstrate how society's relationships with public buildings and government have radically changed over the course of the last century.

The photographs, drawings and diagrams created for this study are currently being assembled into a traveling exhibition and book published by The University of Texas. This process can be long and unfulfilling and so the website was created to act as an intermediate showcase for the work as well as a place to test and refine content.  It also serves as a place to find out about upcoming exhibitions and lectures.

 

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi