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

The Old Courthouse

 
 
The Old Courthouse Marker image. Click for full size.
By Norman Frank, March 21, 2012
1. The Old Courthouse Marker
Inscription. For more than 60 years, Rockportís skyline was dominated by an imposing, three-story Moorish-inspired courthouse. It was the first major building designed by J. Riely Gordon, who would become one of Texasí most famous architects. Born in Virginia in 1863, Gordon moved with his family to San Antonio in 1874, where he started his career. He subsequently designed 18 Texas courthouses, 12 of which are still standing. His unique Aransas County Courthouse was demolished in 1955.

Constructed from shellcrete in 1889, Gordonís courthouse featured multiple arched windows and a teardrop dome. The building included a basement and towered over the two-story jail, windmill, and other nearby structures. During World War II, Rockport citizens used the cupola to look for enemy planes.

The first county judge to preside in the courthouse was Paul Phelan Court. In 1893, the county erected a spiked wrought iron fence around the building to keep out roaming livestock. Four sets of iron steps, each opposite an entrance to the building, provided access over the fence. Later, a brick foundation was added under the fence.

The majestic courthouse did not survive the modernization movement of the early 1950s. Its furnishings were sold at auction, and the shellcrete walls became riprap to protect the shoreline. Gordonís beautiful
Aransas County Courthouse with Marker near entrance image. Click for full size.
By Norman Frank, March 21, 2012
2. Aransas County Courthouse with Marker near entrance
building stood on Live Oak between Mimosa and Concho streets, replaced in 1956 by the modern, single-story Aransas County Courthouse.
 
Erected 2011 by Visionaries in Preservation, Aransas County Historical Society, Inc., Texas Historical Foundation, Texas Tropical Trail/Texas Historical Commission, Aransas County Historical Commission, City of Rockport, and Margaret Sue Rust Foundation. (Marker Number 3.)
 
Location. 28° 1.559′ N, 97° 3.163′ W. Marker is in Rockport, Texas, in Aransas County. Marker is on North Live Oak Street near East Mimosa Street, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. The marker is near the entrance to the Aransas County Courthouse. Marker is at or near this postal address: 301 N Live Oak St, Rockport TX 78382, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Aransas County (here, next to this marker); St. Peterís Episcopal Church (within shouting distance of this marker); Bracht House (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Sacred Heart Catholic Church (about 600 feet away); First Presbyterian Church of Rockport (about 700 feet away); Rockportís Seafood Industry
First Eight Signs for Rockport's Pathways to History image. Click for full size.
By Norman Frank, March 21, 2012
3. First Eight Signs for Rockport's Pathways to History
(approx. 0.2 miles away); Womanís Club of Aransas County Building (approx. 0.2 miles away); Fulton-Bruhl House (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Rockport.
 
Categories. Notable Buildings
 
#9 and Future Signage for Rockport's Pathways to History image. Click for full size.
By Norman Frank, March 21, 2012
4. #9 and Future Signage for Rockport's Pathways to History
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 21, 2012. This page has been viewed 598 times since then and 58 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on March 21, 2012. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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