JEFFERSON, TX (KLTV) - They have been raising money since 1999 for it, and talking about it even longer than that, but it’s finally going to happen: The Historically Designated Marion County Courthouse is going to be renovated. Now that the funding is in place, and a contractor hired, we take a look at the temporarily empty courthouse.
It’s been standing in downtown Jefferson since 1913, and has gone through a few changes, but Marion County Judge Leward LaFluer says it’s going to be fixed back to original. Joe R. Jones Construction got the winning bid to just that.
“It’s overseen by the Texas Historical Commission, so basically what they’re going to do is they’ve got all the specs of what this courthouse looked like; the flooring, the granite walls, all the arbitrary fixtures, and they’re going to put it back just the way it was built,” LaFluer said.
Marion County asked for a grant in 1999, and recently the Texas Historical Commission had good news.
“We were the recipient of a $4.7 million grant this award cycle,” LaFluer revealed.
And since 1999 the county has raised about a million for the renovation. They had to vacate the courthouse to have the work done so:
“We bought a building, and it saved the taxpayers a tremendous amount of money over the next two to three years in rent,” LaFluer stated.
There are stories permeating the building, like in the courtroom where every judge taking the bench rests a hand in the same place as they walk by which has worn the woodwork.
Komatsu Architects were hired to get the restoration correct based on:
“A sister courthouse up in the panhandle: Roberts County. They did a renovation I want to say five to ten years ago and everything is just about like ours,” LaFluer explained.
The floating ceiling will go, and so will a lot of 1970s paneling. LaFluer says, bottom line:
“It will look like a completely different building.”
Maybe they’ll get the sliding cabinet on the judge’s bench opened. The key was lost and it’s been locked for years. They have no idea what’s in there.
And below the vaulted County Clerk’s office is what Judge LaFluer calls a secret room; spiral stairs in the floor leading to..
Well, unfortunately my story’s getting long and I have to cut this short. But if you watch the webxtra below, you can see what’s down there.