This year, the Duval County Courthouse is celebrating it centennial. It was 100 years ago on October 1916 that the present courthouse was completed and dedicated. Two important events are on tap to observe the momentous event.
The first is right around the corner. This Thursday, July 21, the Texas Historical Commission will hold a public hearing on an application submitted by Duval County to restore the courthouse to its original majesty. The historic restoration grant process is extremely competitive and the county needs all the public support it can muster.
The meeting will be held in Austin in the Capital Extension, Room E1.026 beginning at 9 a.m. If you are in Austin on Thursday you are urged to attend the meeting in support of the Duval County application. If you cannot attend the meeting please call your state representative or state senator and express your support for the Duval County application. You can find contact information for your representatives here. To express your support to the Texas Historical Commission you can find their contact information here. You can also visit www.duvaltexascourthouse.com
The Duval County Courthouse has been designated a Texas Historic Landmark by the Texas Historical Commission. On Feb. 9, 2011 Preservation Texas, Inc. named the Duval County Courthouse to its list of Texas Most Endangered Historic Places. Originally named to the 2011 list of Texas’ Most Endangered Historic Places, the Duval County Courthouse is listed as threatened on the 2013 list. The Courthouse is an example of the many Texas courthouses that still need renovation.
In 1998 and again in 2012, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named Texas’ courthouses to its list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. The National Trust has since named them a National Treasure, signifying their national significance and the Trust’s ongoing commitment to their preservation.
In the second important event, slated for October 11, the Duval County Historical Commission will sponsor a full day of activities. Details for the event are still being worked out but they include an open house of the courthouse for self-tours, a dinner at the Civic Center for invited guests, and a presentation by several speakers at the courthouse that evening. Speakers include O. Daniel Castillo, the architect that prepared the Courthouse Preservation grant application and yours truly, Alfredo E. Cardenas, who wrote a brief history of the courthouse as part of the preservation application.