The current Courthouse, located in the center of the Mason Square, is the third courthouse to serve Mason County. It was designed by Dallas architect E. C. Hosford and was constructed in 1909-1910. The courthouse was built in the Classical Revival style with an original cost of $39,786 according to county records. Even today, the courthouse and surrounding grounds serve as a central location for county government, commerce, local festivals and veterans’ memorial.
Currently, the Mason County Courthouse is in need of updating. The electrical wiring and roof are in need of repair and the elevator does not meet ADA standards as federally required. The County Judge and Commissioners have tackled this issue and discovered that the estimate to repair the electrical, roof and elevators alone would be approximately the same as applying for a complete courthouse renovation through the Texas Historical Commission. This would allow for the Courthouse to be renovated and repaired both exteriorly and interiorly. In 2011, Mason County applied for and received a Planning Grant from the State of Texas to study the architectural and mechanical aspects of renovating the courthouse.
Under the Courthouse Renovation Project, in conjunction with the Texas Historical Commission, a county in Texas applies for a grant and counties are placed in order of need based on the Historical Commission’s criteria. Mason County was placed high on the list after the first year application was filed. Under the grant program, the county in responsible for 15%-20% of the total cost and the Historical Commission contributes the remaining 80%-85%. Currently all county courthouses with historical designations have to be repaired or renovated in a manner that preserves the original historical architectural style as constructed. The Historical Commission also has oversight of the renovation of the courthouse and grounds including monuments, memorials, and other erected structures.
The Texas State Historical Society has stated though the planning process that a Veterans’ Memorial on the southeast corner of the courthouse grounds would need to be relocated away from the grounds. This is raising concerns with the community and has been addressed from both sides.
Updates will be provided as the County Judge and Commissioners move forward with the planning for this estimated $4.6 million project.