High Plains Road Trip

History of the Deaf Smith County Courthouse

HEREFORD,Texas (KAMR/KCIT) - Hereford, Texas is more known in our area for cattle, but it is also known as a small city with a rich history behind it. 

That history starts at the Deaf Smith County Courthouse.

"This is the hub of Hereford and Deaf Smith County and I think that's why it's so significant," Judge D.J. Wagner, said.

The Deaf Smith County Courthouse is truly one of a kind. 

"It's marble faced and it's one of the only marble faced courthouses in the nation," Wagner explained. 

More than 100 years ago, the people of Deaf Smith County decided they needed a bigger courthouse to host the events they would often hold. 

"Back then they used the courthouse for church, for parties, whatever," Carolyn Waters, Chairman of Deaf Smith County Historical Comision, stated.

Lawmakers at the time, however, did not want it. They raised the bond from $50,000 to a little over $100,000. By doing this they figured the people of Deaf Smith County would not care to pass the bond, and forget about the idea.

To their surprise, the bond passed.

"They called in the city band and kind of chastised the ones who lost and they did a lot of planning and work towards making this the beautiful building that it is today,"  Waters said.

The beauty was not just for looks.

"Courthouse fires were pretty common,"  Joe Rogers,  WT history teacher, said.

Having the marble walls helped to combat the fires. For many in the town, it was a new beginning.

"It really shows the vibrancy of the town and the economic energy that it had and the want to succeed that the town was showing," Rogers explained.

Historians are trying to keep the history of the courthouse and other historical monuments in Hereford alive.

"If we continue to destroy and take down our historical buildings we lose so much history," Waters stated.

The old courthouse moved across the street from the new one and became St. Anthony's Church.

The new courthouse is four stories high and about four times bigger than the original courthouse.


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