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marmer

Brazoria County Courthouse in Angleton

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marmer    68

Earlier this week I was called for jury duty. I was not, as it turned out, selected for a jury, but I did get to spend all morning at the Brazoria County Courthouse in Angleton. There are actually three "courthouse" buildings. There's the 1895 building which now houses the county historical museum, the 1940 one which is a stripped down limestone Moderne building featured in _Houston Deco_, and the 1976 addition, which is classic 70's Brutalist. Anyway, the 70's one didn't do much for me, being sort of a lowest-bidder institutional thing, but the 1940 one is spectacular inside. The architect was Wyatt C. Hedrick, not Lamar Q. Cato as _Houston Deco_ says, and there is a lot of white limestone with little seashell fossils on the interior as well as the exterior. The corridors, while narrow, are spectacular with terrazo floors, inlaid detailing at the stairwells, marble paneling on the walls, floor to ceiling, and period stainless steel door hardware. The courtroom I was in had floor to ceiling cherry paneling in alternating bands of horizontal and vertical grain, and lovely Art-Deco detailing on the railing of the jury box, judge's bench, witness stand, and other railings. Stainless steel windows were moo, but it's part of the Moderne style, I guess. It was truly beautiful; hard to believe I've lived most of my life in Brazoria County and never seen it before.

Edit: why on earth is the forum changing the word "m e h" to "moo?" Is it National Cow Day or something?

Edited by marmer

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Timnwendy    2

You were more adventurous than I. I was called there for jury duty last month. At 8:45 am they dismissed the jury pool and told us to return at 1pm for selection. Instead of hanging around and exploring, I drove back to Pearland for 3.5 hours. Based on your report, I think next time I should check out the courthouses.

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marmer    68
You were more adventurous than I. I was called there for jury duty last month. At 8:45 am they dismissed the jury pool and told us to return at 1pm for selection. Instead of hanging around and exploring, I drove back to Pearland for 3.5 hours. Based on your report, I think next time I should check out the courthouses.

I didn't have enough time to leave so I was stuck there. But I wasn't wandering around -- we had to sit in a courtroom for voir dire. Anyway, you probably won't be called again for a while, but if you are you should definitely look around. The old part is beautiful. And the county historical museum is right next door.

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plumber2    183

I didn't have enough time to leave so I was stuck there. But I wasn't wandering around -- we had to sit in a courtroom for voir dire. Anyway, you probably won't be called again for a while, but if you are you should definitely look around. The old part is beautiful. And the county historical museum is right next door.

My dad installed the plumbing in the 1940 building. He was twenty years old at the time. He was a lead bench journeyman at the time. All of the waste piping from the plumbing fixtures to the cast iron waste pipe had lead pipe connections back in those days. I still have most of his lead tools, but I have donated some of them to the union hall. Construction of buildings during that era still required real craftsmen for sure.

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marmer    68

As it happens, I was wrong. The 1940 building was indeed Lamar Q. Cato. The 1976 addition was done after Hedrick's death by Hedrick's firm. Not an unreasonable mistake, given the style of Hedrick's earlier work.

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plumber2    183

Of particular interest is the 1897 courthouse in Angleton. It was thrown up quickly. The county had just finished building a different courthouse building in Brazoria and the occupants had hardly unpacked when the voters approved the move of county seat to Angleton. The Brazoria couthouse stood neglected and seldom used except for small precinct functions. It was finally torn down and the land remained vacant and used primarily as picnic grounds for years.

This voter approval was a rouse used by Angleton leaders to get the county offices moved. The Angleton promotors promised the Alvin area residents that if they voted with them, they would initiate a petition to the state to create a break away county for Alvin to become the county seat of. The break away county would have included parts of Brazoria, Fort Bend and Galveston counties. The name for the proposed county was to have been Sealy County. This part of the plan never happened of course. Once Angleton got their court house they quickly forgot about their promise to Alvin.

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strickn    122
On 1/19/2013 at 7:44 PM, plumber2 said:

. . .The break away county would have included parts of Brazoria, Fort Bend and Galveston counties. The name for the proposed county was to have been Sealy County. This part of the plan never happened of course. Once Angleton got their court house they quickly forgot about their promise to Alvin.

 

Thanks plumber2 -- needed that name, Sealy County, just now.

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