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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Family Photos: The Courthouse in Seymour

I saw a picture of the old courthouse being demolished at the Baylor County Museum Facebook page.  My grandfather worked in the courthouse as he served two terms as the tax assessor. However, he worked in the courthouse before the remodel and the addition of the rounded dome. To see the courthouse prior to the dome click here

Below is a picture of my grandfather (on the right) working in the courthouse and this article published in the Baylor County Banner on June 9, 1911 describes the typewriter.  
Tax assessor, R. E. Bryan has purchased a long carriage Oliver typewriter at a cost of $160. He says that not more than seven or eight assessors in the state make our their tax rolls on a typewriter and Baylor will be right in the foremost rank.

The following article describing the new and improved courthouse was in the August 2, 1917 issue of the Baylor County Banner.

The New Courthouse, Cut Shows How the Baylor County 
Temple of Justice Looks After Finished

After more delay than was seemingly, a photograph has been secured and a cut made of the courthouse after recent repairs have been made upon it.  The photo was made by Downing and Waller and the Banner has them to thank for the picture from which this cut was made. It was taken from the northeast corner and is a good likeness.

It would be hard to give a complete description of just what changes have been made in the courthouse. The building had stood for 30 years with practically no repair and much of it was badly in need of attention.  Especially necessary was some work on the tower and it was there that the most apparent change was made. The old tower, as it has been known for so many years was torn down and replaced with a dome.  This gives a more modern and substantial appearance to the structure. The dome is painted a copper color and is set off with a flag pole from which Old Glory is want to wave.

The total repair bill for the carpenter and tine work, painting and plumbing was about $10,000.  Graham and White had the contact for the carpenter work. G. D. Peak for the painting, while a Wichita firm had the plumbing contract. The carpenter work included putting down cross grain flooring in the court rooms and in all of the offices. Then there was a complete change in the district court room.  The judge’s stand and the jury box are now on the south side. On the west side are several rows of opera chairs for the jury venire.  On the east side there are 12 comfortable swivel chairs for those who are accepted as jurors.  Close to their box is a door that leads to the jury room.  This is provided with comfortable beds, reading tableles, toilet, etc. which makes live seem less like the jail bird variety to those who are called to serve their country as administrators of justice. 

The new district court room has very little resemblance to the old one.  It is seated with heavy opera chairs which are comfortable and durable.  It has a spacious balcony seated the same way.  The room will provide for as large a crowd as will usually congregate there.

This auditorium is bordered with a very handsome oak finish panel.  The rail and all other finishings are such as will do honor to the country when seen by many visitors from elsewhere to district court. The judges table and platform, the witness box, the attorneys’ tables and chairs, etc., are handsome and substantial to a satisfactory degree.  The pretty metal ceiling, the ornamental electric lights, the inclined floor, etc., complete an effect such as would be desired in a temple of justice for a county of this importance. 

The who building received an overhauling.  New window sills were put in, metal ceiling replaces wood ceiling in the halls.  All woodwork received new paint and the walls new calcimine. Instead of a water cooler, water is now received through a bubbling fountain in one of the main hallways.  The fountain is connected with a lead coil in a large ice box, which keeps the water fine in summer time.  The lower halls are lighted from a handsome light fixture, Mr. C. D. McKeehan being the lighting artist. 

A brick toilet room has also been erected on the grounds south of the courthouse  for the use of county officials and the general public.  It is connected with the sewer main. 

These courthouse repairs put this building in good shape for a number of years.  In fact, it will likely be a long time before the need is felt for an entirely new building.  

From the Baylor County Banner, August 2, 1917


© 2012, copyright Diana Quinn

1 comment:

  1. Diana,

    I just saw this posting. Photos from inside the old courthouse are very rare! Thanks for posting this!

    Angela Walling