Historic Courthouse Roles

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Architecture, Courthouses

Cue Up These Five Flicks to See Texas’ Architectural Stars Shine

By Andy Rhodes, Managing Editor, The Medallion

The next time you’re watching a movie at home or on the big screen, keep an eye out for one of the stars of Texas’ architectural scene: a historic courthouse. From classic flicks to modern masterpieces, movies with Texas courthouses reflect the Lone Star State’s colorful heritage in small towns and big cities.

Celebrate Preservation Month this May by cueing up one of the following five flicks with Texas courthouses playing a role.

  • “Boyhood” (2014) The Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning film by Texas director extraordinaire Richard Linklater includes a scene featuring the Hays County Courthouse in San Marcos. The three-story Renaissance Revival structure dates to 1908 and occupies a prominent spot on San Marcos’ historic downtown square.
  • “Bernie” (2011) Another Linklater-directed film, “Bernie”—starring Jack Black, Matthew McConaughey, and Shirley MacLaine—includes several prominent shots of the Williamson County Courthouse in Georgetown. The 1909 courthouse is a sister of the Charles Page-designed building in San Marcos, and was restored in 2006 as part of the THC’s Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program (THCPP).
  • “Waiting for Guffman” (1996) This amusing mockumentary from Christopher Guest (of “Spinal Tap” and “Saturday Night Live”) features Lockhart’s stately Caldwell County Courthouse. Although many attribute its design to San Antonio architect Alfred Giles, the THC marker notes that Henri E. M. Guindon is likely the true architect.
  • “Lone Star” (1996) One of McConaughey’s early films, “Lone Star” features the 1885 Maverick County Courthouse in Eagle Pass. The Romanesque Revival structure was rededicated in 2005 following a full exterior and interior restoration via the THC’s courthouse program.
  • “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” (1982) Starring Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds, this classic film included scenes with the Lavaca County Courthouse in Hallettsville. Also a participant in the THCPP, the Lavaca County Courthouse dates to 1899 and is considered a masterpiece of Romanesque Revival design by notable Texas architect Eugene Heiner.

Guest appearances by Texas’ courthouses aren’t limited to the silver screen. In 2015, the Caldwell County Courthouse was featured in HBO’s critically acclaimed series “The Leftovers.” To learn more about how the courthouse became the center of fictional Jarden, Texas’ town square, read our blog post

For a detailed list of courthouse appearances in movies, scroll to the bottom of the THC’s courthouse program fun facts page.

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