Parker County Courthouse
State governor Jefferson Weatherford, and Representative Isaac Parker sponsored the petition to create Parker County in 1855. After much wrangling over names, the legislature created the 30-square mile County on 13 December 1855.
The Parker County Courthouse is the fourth such building to serve the citizens of Parker County. The first was a wooden building of rough undressed pine freighted in from Red River County. The 18 by 30 one-room building, built in 1856, was located on the north side of the Square.
The second Courthouse, built in 1856, was of brick made and fired in Weatherford. An all-night dance celebrated its completion. Early on 13 May 1874, the Courthouse burned, consuming all deeds, wills, probated, and marriage records. Arson was determined the cause, but no charges were ever filed.
Local buildings were used as the Courthouse until completion of the third edifice dedicated in 1879. It, too, burned 1 March 1884 under questionable circumstances, but most records were saved.
The fourth and current building, an elegant French Empire designed architecture was dedicated in 1886 at a cost of $55,555.55. It was designed by Wesley Clark Dodson of Waco who designed several other courthouses in Texas with limestone quarried from Parker County. French stonemasons, brothers Armand and Emile Laudes, who came to Weatherford from Ohio, fashioned the exterior stone design seen today. They built the courthouse in Palo Pinto and Kaufman counties as well as the First Methodist Church on South Main in Weatherford. The contractor paid a $2,580 fine for being 129 days behind schedule due to an apparent murder and ensuring scandal.
The Seth Thomas clock was installed in 1897, at a cost of $975. Mechanisms were electrified in the 1960’s. In 1964, the Courthouse was awarded a Texas Historical Marker.
Parker County’s namesake Isaac Parker would surely be proud of the recent historically renovated home of Parker County. A recipient of funds from a grant program of the State of Texas to refurbish historic courthouses, the grand ole dame is a jewel for all to admire. Interior designs and colors were determined from photographs and recollections.
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