Brackettville in Kinney County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
Las Moras Masonic Lodge Building
(First County Courthouse)
Erected 1990 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 3040.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Fraternal or Sororal Organizations.
Location. 29° 18.683′ N, 100° 25.037′ W. Marker is in Brackettville, Texas, in Kinney County. Marker is at the intersection of Ann Street (Ranch to Market Road 674) and Cook Alley, on the left when traveling north on Ann Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Brackettville TX 78832, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Kinney County Courthouse (a few steps from this marker); Fort Clark, CSA Kinney County Jail (within shouting distance of this marker); Partrick Building (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Petersen Building (about 400 feet away); Catholic Church (about 800 feet away); Filippone Building (approx. 0.2 miles away); Montalvo House (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Brackettville.
More about this marker. Marker is mounted on the building.
Regarding Las Moras Masonic Lodge Building. When the Republic of Texas won its independence from Mexico in 1836, the new constitution provided for creation of the county governmental system. New counties could be established if 100 free male inhabitants living in an area containing at least 900 square miles petitioned the government. Counties were to be roughly 30 miles across with the county seat within 5 miles of the center. This requirement was intended to ensure that all county residents would be able to travel to the county seat to vote and return home in one day.
Named for early Texas settler, adventurer, businessman, and legislator Henry Lawrence Kinney (1814-1862), Kinney County was formed from Bexar County by authorization
Two years later in 1852, near the center of the new county, adjacent to Las Moras Spring, the U.S. Army established Fort Clark to protect travelers and Oscar B. Brackett opened a stage stop, freight office and dry goods store to service the traffic on the “lower road” from San Antonio to El Paso.
By the 1870’s Fort Clark’s satellite community of Brackett had become fairly notorious for its abundance of saloons, gambling dens, brothels and generally lawless character. The town was a sanctuary for all manner of desperados, low-lifes, and opportunists, all come to separate the soldiers from their pay. It was high-time the county seat became a more respectable center of legitimate commerce and, to wary settlers, a place of law, order, and civility. For that noble purpose, Kinney County’s first recorded public meeting took place in a schoolroom in the old O.B. Brackett home on January 27th, 1873.
It was during these early meetings in the schoolroom that there was discussion of the need for a suitable site for a courthouse which would be very imposing and command a good view of the town and surrounding country. Towards that end, on October 1st, 1874, the Commissioner’s Court began
The first permanent courthouse in a county was usually a simple yet elegant two-story building with courtroom upstairs and county offices downstairs. Plans for Kinney County’s first courthouse, following this standard, began on July 22nd 1878. The new building, located on a lot across Cook Alley from the Kartes and Co. building, was accepted by the County on March 8th, 1879. The 1879 courthouse was in use for 32 years, until 1911. The building subsequently served as the U.S. Post Office and is now owned by the Las Moras Masonic Lodge No. 444.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on May 19, 2012, by William F Haenn of Fort Clark (Brackettville), Texas. This page has been viewed 717 times since then and 28 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on May 19, 2012, by William F Haenn of Fort Clark (Brackettville), Texas. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.