Bexar County Courthouse, San Antonio

Bexar County Courthouse, San Antonio

The Bexar County Courthouse is a historical building in downtown San Antonio, bordering Main Plaza along with such other architectural landmarks as the Cathedral of San Fernando. The building was designed by architect J. Riely Gordon in Romanesque Revival style. Ground for the structure was broken on August 4, 1891 and the cornerstone was laid December 17, 1892.

After several delays, it took the county overall five years and five bond issues to complete the construction in 1897 – producing four stories of native granite, red sandstone, terracotta, beehive dome and towers, and red tile roofs. It then took county business less than 15 years to outgrow it, so by 1914, the courthouse had become “...so crowded that no county officer has sufficient room in which to transact public business and in which the jury rooms for the jurors' accommodations are so lacking in comfort as to make jury service a real hardship."

In 1926, modifications were made resulting in a three-story addition to the south side, as well as an entire remodeling, from the basement up. It was also during this renovation that much of the red tile roof was replaced with the attractive green clay tiles seen today. Still, after only three years, the county officials once again complained about lack of space and needing better facilities, thus prompting further changes to be made over the course of the next 40 years. At one point, District Attorney Hubert Green, Jr. decided he needed some air conditioning for his office, so he used the money from his discretionary fund obtained through nefarious operations, like gambling and drug proceeds, to purchase a small window unit. Snucking it into the non-air conditioned courthouse, he plugged it in and... shorted out the whole building’s electrical system.

Throughout the 1960s-70s, substantial remodeling and modernization included a 24,000-square foot addition to the southwest corner of the courthouse. Performed in stages, the full restoration of the building saw the removal of some previously added elements using the Brokk 250 “robots”. In 1977, the edifice was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Today restored to its 1926 iteration, the courthouse stands with its structural integrity intact, once again serving Bexar County citizenry as the County Seat through its third century and, gratefully, fully air-conditioned.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.

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Bexar County Courthouse on Map

Sight Name: Bexar County Courthouse
Sight Location: San Antonio, USA (See walking tours in San Antonio)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

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