in Houston, Texas
Texas courthouses named to preservationists’ ‘most endangered’ list, $247 million spent to date on courthouse program
Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013, 12:55PM CST
By Mark Lisheron

The historic courthouses of Texas, without which the lemonade, chewing tobacco and dominoes industries would have long ago collapsed, are themselves collapsing. Again.

Taxpayers have since 1999 spent $247 million to keep the domes, cupolas and turrets atop 83 of the old warhorses, but that isn’t near enough, according to a report by KXAN-TV in Austin.

After 14 years of restoration, the state’s county courthouses have found themselves back on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

To help blot out the shame, the Texas Historical Commission is asking the Legislature for another $20 million in this session. But with at least 75 of the more than 235 courthouses 50 years or older in need of work, expect the requests to go on in perpetuity.

Stung by the first National Trust reproach, Gov. George W. Bush and the Legislature in 1999 ponied up $50 million to establish the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program. The grant reached a high of $62 million in the 2007 session but has dipped to $20 million for each of the past two biennia.

Should the funding not be forthcoming, counties might want to consider setting up committees for issuing bonds without voter approval as was done to prompt quick action to build a new $343 million courthouse in Travis County.

And if that doesn’t work out, there’s always room for folding dominoes tables in the Wal-Mart parking lot.

Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog.

Keep up with all the latest news from Texas Watchdog. Fan our page on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Scribd, and fan us on YouTube. Join our network on, and put our RSS feeds in your newsreader. We're also on MySpace, Digg, FriendFeed, and tumblr.

Photo of Fort Bend County courthouse by flickr user fusionpanda, used via a Creative Commons license.

Be the first to post a comment.
Karen Townsend | 7 years 8 months
"Patrick F. Kennedy is a career foreign service officer" -
Peter Corbett ✈ | 7 years 8 months
I'm at McCarran International Airport (LAS) w/ @almacy
KERA Public Media | 7 years 8 months
TONIGHT at 7pm on KERA TV: Presidential Debate: Learn more at PBS NewsHour.
PBS MediaShift | 7 years 8 months
Tech Snafus Make Bill O'Reilly/Jon Stewart 'Rumble' More of a Stumble (@kegill | @pbsmediashift) #rumble2012
Will Sullivan | 7 years 8 months
Great addition, been burned too much by bad subs. "Google Play Announces Free Trials For In-App Subscription Services"
TxDOT | 7 years 8 months
I-35W/North Tarrant Express #constantcontact
© 2019 TEXAS WATCHDOG and USELABS. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use and Privacy Statement