Wilbarger County Courthouse (Vernon)

                            Trey Wilson Lawyer                         

Year Built: 1928

Architect: Voelcker & Dixon

The Wilbarger County Courthouse is located in Vernon, Texas.

Boasting a Classical Revival style, the Wilbarger County Courthouse was designed by Voelcker and Dixon architects of Wichita Falls, and completed in 1928. The county passed a $375,000 bond issue in support of the courthouse, which was built of steel, concrete, and stone.

The county’s first official home was erected in 1883 for $2,400. The frame courthouse with a two-story porch was replaced in 1890 by a brick building that cost the county $34,900. J.E. Flanders (architect of numerous Texas courthouses) designed this second county capitol, which eventually lost its tower to a tornado.

Reid and Costley of Wichita Falls served as contractor for the third and final Wilbarger County Courthouse, which stands today on the square in the county seat of Vernon.

Wilbarger County, created in 1858 and organized in 1881, was named for brothers and early pioneers Josiah P. and Mathias Wilbarger. Josiah was known for surviving a scalping by the Comanche Indians; he placed a wool sock over his head until his rescue the following day.

Vernon was christened in honor of George Washington and his home in Mount Vernon. According to “The Handbook of Texas Online,” the area that is now Vernon was originally called Eagle Springs by the Tonkawa Indians due to the unusual abundance of nesting eagles.

Wilbarger County, which sits along the Oklahoma border, is the home of Doan’s Crossing, located at the Red River crossing where the cattle trail entered Indian Territory. C.F. and J. Doan, the first settlers in the area, built their adobe supply store, C.F. Doan and Company, just beside the path where 5 million cattle passed by on the way to Dodge City, Kansas. The store housed the county’s first post office. Tourists are welcome to visit Doan’s Crossing, which includes the original 1881 store, a few abandoned residences, and a historical marker.

Doan’s May Picnic is the longest-running historical pageant in the Lone Star State. The special event takes place at the Doan’s adobe near the original site of Watt’s Grove. Since May 1884, the picnic has traditionally been held on the first Saturday in May.

In 1885, the Fort Worth and Denver Railroad constructed tracks south of Doan’s Crossing, opening up other shipping points for cattle. Local ranchers, recognizing the importance of the railroad, donated rights of way for its development.

The county is also known for the Santa Rosa Palomino Club, one of the premier western riding clubs in Texas and the Southwest. Based in Vernon, the Palomino Club has been a featured attraction at rodeos, equestrian events, and charity events throughout the Southwest; has won the National Drill Team Championships more than once; and has brought back close to 400 first-place trophies from parade appearances.

The Santa Rosa Palomino Club supports the annual Santa Rosa Roundup, which takes place every May in Vernon.

Found under the Monuments of Justice, Texas County Progress Website.

PERSONAL VISIT NOTE:  We visited this Courthouse on a Saturday afternoon. From a stage behind the Courthouse a female singer was laying down a great Patsy Cline tune. The streets were crowded and windy, and the tiny town was in a festive mood for what appeared to be an oncoming party that evening. The storekeepers had outdoor setups, including for Karaoke. My wife bought a pair of serape patterned shorts from a cargo trailer turned boutique.