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Bexar County Courthouse Stays True to Its Creator

Sep 9, 2020 | Antwerp Belguim, Architecture, bexar county courthouse, Featured Professional, Featured Projects, Gothic Architecture, Texas

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Nothing says San Antonio architecture like the Bexar County Courthouse. This beautiful building was designed by internationally renowned architect James Riely Gordon in the Romanesque Revival Style. Mr. Gordon is known for creating 72 courthouses and hundreds of state capitals and other public buildings; he had an affinity for San Antonio.  

As a child, young James moved with his parents to Bexar County and being the child of a civil engineer, it was quite a coup when young architect James landed his first major design contract to oversee the construction of the San Antonio Federal Courthouse and Post Office in 1892. To this day, many San Antonians consider the current Bexar County Courthouse the most magnificent. As with all San Antonio architecture, they wear their past proudly as part of the design.

The current Bexar County Courthouse is the direct descendant of the oldest municipal government agency in Texas, the Cabildo of the Spanish colonial period.

Before the Bexar County Courthouse existed in its current state, there were four predecessors, and each one was located within walking distance (approximately two blocks) of this iconic courthouse.

Since the Bexar County Courthouse’s completion in 1897, there have been four major expansions to this historic monument. The two that were considered “inappropriate” were done in 1963, where they increased the square footage 9000 square feet, and in 1972 where the square footage was increased by 39,000 square feet. Both were removed by 2015, and this move resulted in the current courthouse being restored to its original grandeur. San Antonio architecture has to stay true to form, and that speaks volumes.

Once again, architect James Riely Gordon did not disappoint. Here’s a list of the Bexar County Courthouse Historic Designations:

  • City of San Antonio Historic Exceptional Landmark
  • City of San Antonio Main Plaza Historic District
  • City of San Antonio Military Plaza Historic Districts
  • National Register of Historic Districts
  • National Register of Historic Places
  • National Trust for Historic Preservation’s list of Eleven Most Endangered Historic Buildings 1998
  • Texas Historic Landmark
  • Texas Historical Commission Grant Covenant
  • Texas State Archaeological Landmark Site
  • Texas State Archaeological Site 

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