Aransas County Courthouse (Rockport)

                        
                                                     
                    

Year Built: 1956

Architect: Lynn A. Evans

The Aransas County Courthouse is located in Rockport, Texas.

As of this writing, Courts in Aransas County are operating out of rented space in a shopping center (see below).  Hurricane Harvey destroyed the 1956 Courthouse in August 2017, and by February 2018, what remained of the severely damaged structure was demolished.

The 1956 courthouse replaced J. Riely Gordon’s 1889 Moorish style structure that was demolished in the 1960s.

Trey Wilson Lawyer

Ground was broken in August 2022 and construction îs underway from a brand new, modern courthouse. The new courthouse will be part of a complex of new buildings that will include a new Rockport City Hall and a community building. The Courthouse and Rockport City Hall were designed by PGAL Architect and Architexas.

The Construction Manager Agent assisting Aransas County and The City of Rockport is Broaddus and Associates, Inc. Teal Construction is constructing both the Courthouse, City Hall and Community building. I took the in-progress construction pictures below.

Text of marker from “The Old Courthouse“:

“For more than 60 years, Rockport’s skyline was dominated by an imposing, three-story Moorish-inspired courthouse. It was the first major building designed by J. Riely Gordon, who would become one of Texas’ most famous architects. Born in Virginia in 1863, Gordon moved with his family to San Antonio in 1874, where he started his career. He subsequently designed 18 Texas courthouses, 12 of which are still standing. His unique Aransas County Courthouse was demolished in 1955.

Constructed from shellcrete in 1889, Gordon’s courthouse featured multiple arched windows and a teardrop dome. The building included a basement and towered over the two-story jail, windmill, and other nearby structures. During World War II, Rockport citizens used the cupola to look for enemy planes.

The first county judge to preside in the courthouse was Paul Phelan Court. In 1893, the county erected a spiked wrought iron fence around the building to keep out roaming livestock. Four sets of iron steps, each opposite an entrance to the building, provided access over the fence. Later, a brick foundation was added under the fence.

The majestic courthouse did not survive the modernization movement of the early 1950s. Its furnishings were sold at auction, and the shellcrete walls became riprap to protect the shoreline. Gordon’s beautiful building stood on Live Oak between Mimosa and Concho streets, replaced in 1956 by the modern, single-story Aransas County Courthouse.