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

Bee County Courthouse

Bee County Courthouse Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Steve Gustafson, June 13, 2010
1. Bee County Courthouse Marker
Inscription.  Bee County was created in 1857 from parts of five neighboring counties. The first county seat was located seven miles east of this site, and the first commissioners court was held on the banks of Medio Creek in February 1858. The city's earliest courthouse consisted of a box frame structure.

In 1912, local architect W.C. Stephenson designed this, the county's fourth courthouse. A native of Buffalo, New York, Stephenson aided in the design of the death mask of President William McKinley. He was the architect of several Beeville buildings, including the Rialto Theater, two churches and several houses, and later designed the Classical Revival McMullen County courthouse. W.C. Whitney, builder of three other Texas courthouses, contracted to build the Bee County courthouse for $72,050. Whitney died during construction and W.C. Stephenson's partner, Fritz Heldenfels, completed the project.

Stephenson drew upon the strong contemporary influence of the French Beaux Arts School with a level of grandeur previously nonexistent in Bee County. Some original Beaux Arts features such as the cast stone balustrade originally outlining the roof were
Bee County Courthouse image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Steve Gustafson, June 13, 2010
2. Bee County Courthouse
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later removed, and the 1943 addition partially obscured the symmetrical plan and facade of the edifice.

The Bee County courthouse is a fine example of the Classical Revival style. Of particular significance are the grand portico and projecting pediment entry with Corinthian columns and dentils along the roofline. The Chicago-style windows, comprised of one glass pane flanked by two narrower ones, with transoms above, are noteworthy. Also unusual is Stephenson's lady of justice; unlike most such symbols, she is not depicted as blind.
Erected 2000 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 12317.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Notable Buildings. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #25 William McKinley series list. A significant historical month for this entry is February 1858.
Location. 28° 24.092′ N, 97° 44.905′ W. Marker is in Beeville, Texas, in Bee County. Marker is on Corpus Christi Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 105 W Corpus Christi Street, Beeville TX 78102, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Beeville on the Poesta (here, next to this marker); Barnard E. Bee, Sr. (here, next to this marker); Beeville Veterans Memorial (a few steps from this marker); Douglas A4 Skyhawk
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(within shouting distance of this marker); First Brick Building on Square (within shouting distance of this marker); Bee County War Dead (within shouting distance of this marker); Praeger Building (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Commercial National Bank (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Beeville.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 18, 2019. It was originally submitted on June 23, 2010, by Steve Gustafson of Lufkin, Texas. This page has been viewed 996 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 23, 2010, by Steve Gustafson of Lufkin, Texas. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.

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Mar. 28, 2023