This was our eleventh Courthouse in Texas to visit. That means we are at 4.3% of our goal with 95.7% left to go. This photo was taken late in the evening, but the effect is kind of cool.
Mt. Vernon was established in 1849 on land donated by Stephen and Rebecca Keith, and a public square was surveyed in the 24-acre plat. When Franklin County was created in 1875, Mt. Vernon was voted county seat, and a wooden building northeast of the square was used as the first courthouse. Lots on the block north of the square were soon purchased for $150 for a 2-story wooden jail costing $1,600. In 1878 a brick courthouse was built on the square at a cost of $5,500.
In 1910 county commissioners ordered an election to decide the building of a new courthouse and jail. The commissioners’ court then rescinded that order, called for construction warrants to be issued without election, and levied a property tax to pay for the new buildings. Citizens filed suit against the county, and in January 1911, the district court prevented construction from proceeding.
An appellate court overturned the decision and by December 1911, the Texas Supreme Court had affirmed this method of financing county buildings. Within days of the landmark decision, Franklin County commissioners awarded a contract to L. R. Wright & Co. to construct this courthouse and adjacent jail. The buildings were completed in 1912 at a cost of $55,000.
The 1909 Carson County courthouse in Panhandle, Texas was like the current 1912 Franklin County courthouse. The exterior has been restored after receiving a grant for over $2,000,000 from the Texas Historical Commission in 2010. A grant for over $3,000,000 in 2012 went to interior restoration work which was completed and rededicated on September 20, 2014.