This was our one hundred-fifty-first Courthouse in Texas to visit. That means we are at 59.4% of our goal with 40.6% left to go.
One of the earliest settlers in Grimes County was Englishman Henry Fanthorp who had built a two-room log home in 1834 which also served as a store and a post office by the following year. The home was later expanded into a hotel called the Fanthorp Inn. Although the area was still part of Montgomery County in 1838, the Texas Historical Commission lists a log courthouse being built there that year. It burned down shortly afterwards and the second courthouse was also built in 1838.
Grimes County was officially organized in 1846 and named for Jesse Grimes, a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence and a senator in the Republic of Texas and later in the state legislature. His son, Albert Calvin Grimes, died at the battle of the Alamo. Fanthorp donated land for the county seat and a site between the settlements of Alta Mira and Randolph was chosen. It was named Anderson after Kenneth Lewis Anderson, vice-president of the Republic of Texas, who died at the Fanthorp Inn on July 3, 1845. In time, Anderson encompassed the Fanthorp Inn, Alta Mira and Randolph.
The second courthouse burned in the Fall of 1848 and a third courthouse, a stone building built at the site of the current courthouse, was constructed around 1850. This courthouse burned in 1890 with only the vault remaining. A fourth courthouse was constructed in 1891, designed by architects Jacob Larmour and Arthur O. Watson and built by contractors J.O. Wilson and J.A. Wilson. It was built in the Italianate style of brick and stone. This courthouse also burned ca. 1893, again leaving the old vault behind which was placed in the following courthouse.
The fifth and current courthouse is thought to resemble the fourth one, incorporating its east wall and foundation. Designed by the Houston architectural firm F.S. Glover and Co. (who also designed the 1896 Madison County courthouse) and built by G.T. Macon (Mason?) and Thomas C. Foster, construction began in 1893 and was completed in 1894. The three-story courthouse is constructed of hand molded red brick with limestone details, covered by a steeply pitched roof surmounted by four chimneys and a wood framed cupola with flared eaves. A double sided staircase on the front of the building rises to the entrance of the district courtroom. This courthouse was restored under the Texas Historical Commission’s Courthouse Preservation Program and rededicated on March 2, 2002.