Historical Courthouse

Brewster County Courthouse

Alpine, Texas

Built in 1888 in Second Empire architectual style by architect Tom Lovell.

Designed in the Second Empire style by Tom Lovell, the Brewster County Courthouse was constructed in 1888. The two-and-one-half story building is rectangular in design with the entrances defined by a central pavilion on each faade. The building is constructed of brick laid in common bond. The structure rests on a small base of rusticated limestone with a brick belt course separating the first and second stories. The building is capped by a mansard roof constructed of standing-seam tin. Triangular, two-paned dormers punctuate the roofline. Pressed tin triangular pediments crown the central projections on all four facades. Originally, each projection was capped with a large, attenuated, mansard-like roof, with a single round arch four-light window. These, however have been removed. The east and west facades are composed of three bays of paired round-arch window openings, and a pressed-tin 'frontispiece' doorway is placed in the central pavilion. The entry is made up of of a triangular pediment supported on single Doric pilasters with single-paneled podiums. A semicircular, two-pane transom is above the glass and aluminum replacement doors. The longer north and south facades are comprised of five bays of paired round-arch windows. The north facade has no doorway, and the recent addition of a two-story brick wing to the northwest half of this facade has obscured the two northwest bays and part of the central projection. The southern facade's door is a glass paneled wood-type door. The original wood double-hung windows have not survived, having been discarded for metal lights with fixed sashes. Some of the windows on the second story of the east facade and portions of the second stories of the north and south facades have been replaced with fixed wooden shutters. Additional embellishments include a pressed-tin entablature, comprised of a paneled frieze and a cornice, which surrounds the building; pairs of pressed-tin bracketsÑalso incorporated into the entablature; curved pressed-tin hood molds with a single voussoir on center above the window openings; and vertical brick strips or referential pilasters, which delineate each bay of paired windows. The interior of the courthouse has been modernized, almost completely hiding the historic and beautiful finishes. The district courtroom that once proudly occupied most of the second floor has been divided into smaller spaces. The ceiling has been lowered, the floor carpeted, and the entire level enveloped by particle board paneling.

1934: Remodeling
1971: Remodeling of courtroom
1980: Remodeling windows, interior elements, and doors replaced; unsympathetic addition

Current status: Active Courthouse