Jefferson County Courthouse (Beaumont)
Year Built: 1931.
The Courthouse is 14 stories tall, and has a striking Arts Deco design with a grand and beautiful entrance that reminded me of the entrance to the Rockefeller Center in New York. Although not always a fan of Arts Deco design in Texas Courthouses, I instantly fell in love with this one.
Not only is it surprising that such a tall courthouse exists in far East Texas, but the authentic Arts Deco design is striking in comparison to the heavily-industrial surroundings of Beaumont. In this way, the Courthouse stands out like that in La Salle County. The detail is also amazing.
From the Courthouse Historical Marker:
The first county building constructed at this site was a jailhouse completed in 1838, two years after the organization of Jefferson County. Located on land acquired from Nancy Tevis, a pioneer settler of the area, it also housed county offices and courts. When the commissioners court outgrew the facility, sessions were held in private homes. The first courthouse here was completed in 1854. Built by John A. Beaumont, it was a two-story square structure surrounded by a six-foot picket fence. Baptist and Methodist congregations conducted Sunday services in the building and during the Civil War it was leased to D. T. Inglehart, a Confederate surgeon, for use as a hospital. A second courthouse was constructed in 1893, twelve years after the incorporation of Beaumont. Designed by E. T. Heiner, it was a three-story red brick building with white trim. Following the area oil boom of the 1920s it proved inadequate to meet the needs of the growing population and was replaced by the present brick courthouse in 1931. Designed by Fred Stone and A. Babin, the fourteen-story building features art deco styling in the use of sculpted ornamentation and marble interior work.