The Architectural Jewel of Fort Worth, Texas
In a city and state known nationwide for opulent architectural masterpieces, the Tarrant County Courthouse in Fort Worth stands alone. Erected in 1895, the four-story structure, built with red Texas granite, houses the county and probate courts, the County Clerk’s office and the county Facilities Management Department. The building is a designated Texas Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Major restorations were completed in 1983, 2012, and 2015.
History of the Tarrant County Courthouse
Tarrant County was officially founded in 1849, and Fort Worth was named the county seat in 1856. In 1860, county commissioners approved construction of the first permanent courthouse in Fort Worth and began building the structure. The Civil War intervened and construction was not completed until after the conflict. The first courthouse burned to the ground in 1876, and a new courthouse was erected almost immediately. By the early 1880s, with the arrival of the railroad, that rebuilt courthouse was inadequate to meet the needs of Tarrant County. Commissioners voted to add more courtrooms to the existing structure and also erected a clock tower to replace the original dome.
Within a decade, the county had once again outgrown the courthouse. In 1893, county commissioners voted to allocate $500,000 to build a new courthouse. Using architects from Kansas City and general contractors from Chicago, construction of the current building was completed over a two-year period, with the courthouse open for business in 1895. Though the project came in significantly under budget—just a little over $400,000 was spent on the structure—taxpayers at the time considered it an unnecessary and extravagant use of tax dollars and voted the entire county commission out of office.
Distinctive Features of the Tarrant County Courthouse
The architecture of the courthouse, in the American Beaux Arts Eclecticism style, draws features from French and Italian Renaissance design. The edifice was intended to be reminiscent of the state capitol building in Austin. Distinguishing characteristics include a variety of stone finishes, most predominantly of pink/red marble from quarries in central Texas. The courthouse features paired columns and balustrades, with upright vertical supports that resemble vases. The entrances to the building are pedimented, with triangular gable ends commonly found in classical architecture. The building was also one of the first in Texas to boast a structural steel frame.
Visit The Legal Café
When you’re visiting the Tarrant County Courthouse, whether as a student of history or for a court hearing, check out The Legal Café, just one block away, at 114 Main Street. We serve the public and the Fort Worth legal community, helping bring individuals together with qualified legal counsel. We also offer professionally-appointed coworking space, with access to high-speed internet, as well as private conference rooms for in-person client meetings and teleconferencing.
Access to The Legal Café is by membership. We offer a range of flexible plans to meet your practice needs and your budget. As a member, you’ll have a receptionist to meet and assist your clients. We provide a wide range of additional support services on an à la carte basis, including printing and scanning; secretarial, paralegal, and bookkeeping services; and notary and witnessing services. You’ll also have access to a premier downtown Fort Worth address, as well as mail and package handling.
All lawyers who become members of The Legal Café receive our state-of-the-art lead generation app, which allows you to view, track, and purchase leads on your mobile device.
Whether you’re an attorney looking to lower your overhead, a professional in need of space to use part-time, or a member of the general public in need of an attorney or other professional services, The Legal Café can help. Stop by the Café at 114 Main Street, have a cup of coffee, and find out more.