“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Waco in McLennan County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)

The Courthouses of McLennan County

The Courthouses of McLennan County Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Diane Anderson, October 17, 2019
1. The Courthouses of McLennan County Marker
Inscription.  In January 1850, the Texas Legislature created McLennan County from portions of Robertson and Milam counties, naming it for Neil McLennan, who had settled along the South Bosque River. In September of that year, the Commissioners Court began preparations for constructing a two-story log court building, which was completed in August 1851. During construction, County Judge R.E.B. Baylor held court in a private schoolhouse.

By 1856, the county needed a larger courthouse. In August, they levied taxes to raise funds for a brick building, and Robert H. Smith and N. M. Saunders served as contractors. Because of problems with the structure, including two fatalities due to faulty second floor doors, the county built a new courthouse and jail in the mid-1870s. Noted architect W.C. Dodson designed the structure, completed in July 1877 by builders J.W. Mann & Bro., and Trice & Harris. Dodson's design, a two-story brick building, featured a Mansard roof and clock tower, and was celebrated for its beauty. By 1900, however, it also became too small for the county's needs. Dodson recommended that the county accept the plans of James Riely Gordon,
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renowned throughout Texas and other parts of the nation for his courthouse designs. The Commissioners Court awarded the construction contract to Tom Lovell of Denton and accepted the finished building on March 3, 1902.

One hundred years later, in September 2002, McLennan County residents celebrated the centennial of their fourth courts building, a magnificent Renaissance Revival courthouse crowned with statues of eagles as well as Themis, Justitia and Liberty. Today, the building remains an emblem of pride and justice, a link to the county's history and a symbol of its future.
Erected 2005 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 13099.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Notable Buildings. A significant historical date for this entry is March 3, 1902.
Location. 31° 33.439′ N, 97° 7.999′ W. Marker is in Waco, Texas, in McLennan County. Marker is on Washington Avenue, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 501 Washington Avenue, Waco TX 76701, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. McLennan County Courthouse (here, next to this marker); Alico Building (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Waco Tornado (about 600 feet away); The C.C. McCulloch House (about 700 feet
The Courthouses of McLennan County Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Diane Anderson, October 17, 2019
2. The Courthouses of McLennan County Marker
Marker is located at the right of the photo, in front of the tree to the right of the staircase.
away); Gerald-Harris Shooting (about 800 feet away); Grand Lodge of Texas, A.F & A.M. (approx. 0.2 miles away); Brann-Davis Shootings (approx. 0.2 miles away); Waco Theatre (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Waco.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 23, 2019. It was originally submitted on October 17, 2019, by Brian Anderson of Humble, Texas. This page has been viewed 173 times since then and 34 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on October 23, 2019, by Brian Anderson of Humble, Texas.

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Sep. 22, 2023