Erath County Courthouse – Stephenville, Texas

In 1892, J. Riely Gordon was just getting started designing courthouses in Texas. His first, the Fayette County Courthouse in La Grange, had been completed the year before. Erath County, which had lost its first (1856) courthouse to a fire, had recently been retained as the county seat (folks from Dublin had mounted an unsuccessful attempt to move the seat of government there) and the second (1876) courthouse was unattractive and some folks felt it needed replacing (one source states that it burned).

The 1892 Erath County Courthouse shares some features with the Fayette County Courthouse as well as the 1892 Victoria County Courthouse – all three featured an open atrium in the center of the building to keep air moving and help cool the building during the hot Texas summers.

However, where the tower on the Fayette County and Victoria County buildings is offset (as is the tower on the 1892 Bexar County Courthouse), Gordon designed the Erath County Courthouse with a central tower. All of Gordon’s other 19th century Texas courthouses feature a similar central tower.

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