This was our one hundred-eighty-third Courthouse in Texas to visit. That means we are at 72% of our goal with 28% left to go.
The Texas legislature created Falls County in 1850. The first courthouse was a log cabin, possibly located on this site. In 1855 the county seat (then Adams) was renamed Marlin, and construction was completed on what became the courthouse square. The second courthouse, built of native white cedar, burned about 1870. The third courthouse was completed by 1876 but was damaged in an 1886 storm. Houston architect Eugene Heiner drew the plans for a fourth courthouse, which was completed in 1888. It deteriorated quickly, and county officials began to seek funding for a new edifice. Work began on a fifth Falls County courthouse in 1938.
A county bond issue for $130,000 was matched with a 45% Public Works Administration grant in 1938. The cornerstone was leveled by the Grand Lodge of Texas, A. F. & A. M., on July 4, 1939, and the building was completed by December. Much of the façade is Austin shell stone; Texas pink granite makes up the entry steps. The courthouse was designed in the Art Modern style by architect Arthur E. Thomas of Dallas, and was constructed by San Antonio contractors Hill and Combs. Its symmetrical façade is dominated by a three-story central entry tower with key pattern stonework across the tower parapet. Among its unusual features are the massive shellstone entry surrounds and decorative corner pilasters. Arthur E. Thomas designed various other notable structures in Texas from the late 1930s to 1970, including other courthouses and projects for the Marlin Independent School District. The 1939 Falls County courthouse continues to serve as the center of county government.