The State of Texas is made up of 254 counties and each one has a courthouse. Harris County has four active courthouse buildings and a retired but restored 1911 courthouse which now serves the State of Texas and the 1st & 14th Courts of Appeal. I've marked and X across the counties that I've photographed so far.
There are other photographers who have photographed all or most of the courthouses of Texas. Here are some links to those sites:
1. Travel across Texas with Tom http://www.tomstexascountycourthouses.com
2. Texas Escapes lists architect and their courthouses http://www.texasescapes.com/Texas_architecture/TexasCourthousesByArchitects.htm
3. Texas Courthouses dot Com http://www.texascourthouses.com/
4. Texas Courthouse Trail photos of courthouses by region http://www.texascourthousetrail.com/index.htm
5. County Courthouses of Texas http://www.barnfield.net/texas/index.html
The styles of building are as varied as the architects who built them. Some were built in early Texas history and some are recent projects such as the Harris County Civil Courts Building. There are eleven architectural styles found in Texas courthouses; Texas Renaissance, Classical Revival, Renaissance Revival, Romanesque Revival, Second Empire, Italianate, Mission Revival, Beaux-Arts, Art Deco, Mediterranean, and Modern. Each county courthouse is unique and a Texas treasure.
The State of Texas has more historic courthouses that any other state; more than 234 courthouses still stand that are least 50 years old, and 80 were built before the turn of the 20th century. The golden age of courthouse construction was from 1890 to 1930. The Depression era courthouses are very utilitarian without the architectural details and enhancements of the prior age. By the end of the 20th century most of these courthouses needed extensive rehabilitating and restoration due to neglect and insufficient maintenance. The Texas Historical Commission started with the fifty oldest courthouses in the late 1990s. The Commission determined that most counties lacked the resources to preserve the buildings for future generations. Counties can now apply for grants for restoring their courthouses so that future Texans can appreciate their historical significance.
Providing assistance to counties reached a critical point when Texas county courthouses were added to the National Trust’s11 Most Endangered Properties list in 1998. The state’s response was to create the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program, the largest preservation grant program ever initiated by a state government. This nationally recognized preservation program has turned around the trend of disrepair and begun the process of restoring the state’s most treasured historic landmarks.
In 2011 I acquired a Nikon 28mm PC (Perspective Control) lens. This lens is ideal for photographing buildings because it eliminates or reduces the curved edges of buildings when adjusted properly. It is the single most important reason why I embarked on this collection of courthouse photographs. I can now take a proper, visually correct photograph of a building. Normal wide angle lenses cause the image to "bend" to fit in the frame. This lens removes the bending. Together with the D3s, they make a great architectural camera-lens combination.
About the photos: You will see the best photo of each courthouse considering the viewer's point of view. Most of the courthouses are at an angle giving the viewer a look at the front of the courthouse and all the elements of the architecture and a side view showing depth. In some courthouses this angled view is not possible because of some obstruction. The perspective control lens gives the viewer and exact replication of what the photograph saw when the shutter was tripped. Some of the courthouses were undergoing reconstruction with scaffolding obscuring some of the features. These courthouses will be rephotographed. If you like the gallery please leave a comment. I'll get it by email.