1892 - Old Dallas County Courthouse - Dallas, Texas
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Raven
N 32° 46.725 W 096° 48.422
14S E 705388 N 3628888
Quick Description: Erected in 1890 and completed 2 years later, the old Dallas County Courthouse served the local community until 1966. Its cornerstone can be found at the East entrance of the building, facing the JFK Memorial.
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 5/25/2014 11:37:42 PM
Waymark Code: WMKT3B
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Team Sieni
Views: 13

Long Description:
Built in 1890 and completed in 1982, the Dallas County Courthouse -- a.k.a. the "Old Red Courthouse" -- was created by Architect Max A. Orlopp to serve the Dallas County, Texas community after its three previous predecessors had burned down in relatively short order (with the 1st courthouse, built not far from this location, washed away by floods from the Trinity River).

Designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque style and meant to last for a long time, the building was conceived with maximum fireproofing in mind: "Old Red" (as it is affectionately called) was made of huge blocks of blue granite from Arkansas and red sandstone from Pecos, Texas. The structure did not need any significant renovations until 1968, two years after a nearby new building was erected to replace it as the county's official Courthouse. The building was ultimately listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, and currently serves as a museum -- aptly named the "Old Red Museum" -- showcasing the history of the city of Dallas, Texas.

Authentic architectural elements showcase a magnificent piece of Dallas County history: the building features two terra cotta decorative wyverns (of the original four that were in existence), a 90-foot Clock Tower, 100 stained glass windows, and a grand staircase which has recently been restored to its original 1890 appearance.


The cornerstone is at the building's East entrance, facing the JFK Memorial. A Texas Historical Marker on the other side of the same entrance reads:

"The Old Red Courthouse

Designated as public land in John Neely Bryan's 1844 city plat, this was the site of a log courthouse built after Dallas County was created in 1846. When Dallas won election as permanent county seat in 1850, Bryan deeded the property to the county, and a larger log structure was erected. In 1856 county offices occupied a 2-story brick edifice, rebuilt in 1860 after a fire that almost destroyed the city. The fourth courthouse, a 2-story granite structure erected in 1871, survived one fire in 1880 before it burned again in 1890.

The Old Red Courthouse, the fifth seat of county government, was begun in 1890 and completed in 1892. Designed by Architect M. A. Orlopp, it exemplifies the Romanesque Revival style with its massive scale and rounded arches. The blue granite of the lower floor and window trim contrasts with the red sandstone of the upper stories. Eight circular turrets dominate the design. A clock tower with a 4500-pound bell originally topped the building, but it was removed in 1919. Two of the four clay figures perched on the roof have also been removed.

To house the expanding county government, a new courthouse was built in 1965. Some offices remained in the 1890 structure, which was renovated in 1968."
Year of construction: 1890

Cross-listed waymark: [Web Link]

Full inscription:
East-facing side: DALLAS COUNTY COURTHOUSE - 1890 - E.G. BOWER, CO. JUDGE COMMISSIONERS W.A. ORR. WILEY GARDNER. N.C. McADAM. ENOCH STRAIT. S.B. SCOTT, CO. CLERK ---- North-facing side: LAID BY M.G.W.L.A.F. & A.M. OF TEXAS NOV. 1890 ORLOPP & KUSENER, ARCHITECTS.


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