Houston County's courthouse headed for restoration

By Morgan Thomas - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – In 1999, Houston County Commissioners began their effort to restore and preserve their courthouse. It began with grant applications through the Texas Historical Commission.

Now, their persistence is paying off.  Out of 44 counties who applied, Houston County is one of ten receiving money to start the process.

It's been an uphill battle to renovate the Houston County Courthouse.

"This is the sixth round of the grant application and we got in at round 2 and have been trying ever since," said Houston Co. Judge Lonnie Hunt.

Not giving up - has finally paid off.

"So we received a grant for the $238,000 from the state to get the architects and the engineers and everybody to come in and do all the plans," said Judge Hunt.

Now, they are in line for millions more. District Attorney, Donna Kasper is excited about a full restoration.

"I think it's a great building and think it needs to be kept up and restored to the grandeur that it had to begin with." said Donna Kasper who has worked in the building 15 years.

Which is exactly what the plans strive for.

"A lot of it will be detailed cleaning of both the exterior and interior of the building. For example, in our courtrooms there's been tile or carpet placed over the years over the original flooring," said Judge Hunt.

"I like that we're going to go back to the higher ceilings - I know for efficiency it was probably important to lower those ceilings, but it looks so much better the way they originally created it," said Kasper.

On all four sides of the county courthouse are clocks. Broken clocks. And the subject of the most excitement for the restoration.

"We'll get those clocks working. I think the people of Houston County will be as proud of that as anything because I've lived here since 1975 and the clocks have never worked accurately," said Judge Hunt.

"I think everybody looks at those clocks and wishes they would work," said Kasper.

With time, the project ensures a beautiful future for the hub of Houston County.

The courthouse was built in the art modern style, similar to art deco style. Judge Hunt tells us that many courthouses in Texas were built in this motif, but this will be one of the first to undergo a complete restoration.

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