Texas courthouses are among the most widely recognized, used, and appreciated assets in our communities. With some courthouses dating from as far back as the mid-19th century, they were among the first permanent structures in many counties. With their brick and stone towers, ornate cupolas, and soaring domes, they represent an impressive collection of public architecture. Not surprisingly, Texas has more historic courthouses than any other state—242 are still in active government use. With decades or even centuries of use, most of these structures have significantly deteriorated due to inadequate maintenance, insensitive modifications, or weather-related damage.
The Texas Historical Commission's (THC) nationally recognized and award-winning Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program (THCPP) has turned around the trend of disrepair and begun restoring these treasured historic landmarks. To date, the program has funded 74 Texas courthouse restorations, another 29 courthouses have undertaken emergency or planning work with grant funds, and 25 grants were awarded to update approved preservation Master Plans.
2023 Courthouse Cornerstones available now!
More About the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program
Gross State Product generated through the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program
Stewardship Award Presented to Karnes County
The 2023 Texas Courthouse Stewardship Award—designed to recognize counties that have established good stewardship practice to maintain their courthouses in restored condition—was presented to the Karnes County Courthouse.
The 1894 Karnes County Courthouse in Karnes City was rededicated in April 2018, following two emergency projects, preparation of construction documents, and a full restoration of its Romanesque style courthouse. All of this was funded through grants totaling nearly $6 million from the THC’s Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program.
The grant-funded projects included removing a large addition and non-original stucco and the reconstruction of turrets and a central tower. In addition, interior spaces and finishes were fully restored. The project included incorporating safer, more efficient mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems while bringing the building into compliance with life safety code and accessibility standards.
Since the rededication in 2018, Karnes County has carefully maintained its courthouse under the able guidance of its facility manager, Rene Montalvo. In addition to a commitment to outstanding building maintenance, Rene consults courthouse program staff for technical guidance and review of proposed work, and he regularly attends stewardship training offered through the Courthouse Preservation Program, including regional workshops and the Real Places conference.
Round XII Grant Cycle
The 87th Legislature appropriated $25 million for the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program (THCPP) Round XII Grant Cycle. THCPP offers an opportunity for participants to restore the historic integrity of these cherished symbols of local government while upgrading the buildings to meet modern requirements. The program may award construction grants for full restoration and rehabilitation, planning grants for developing architectural construction documents, and emergency grants to repair or prevent catastrophic damage. More information on the Round XII Grant Cycle recipients is available here.
Click on any image to view the photo gallery.