Architecture enthusiasts are kept busy exploring Hamilton history in several unique settings in this Texas Main Street city. First is the Hamilton County Courthouse, initially completed in 1887 of native limestone in the Second Empire style but by the 1930s the county needed more space. Architect E.M. Mills drew plans that doubled the size of the building and modernized it while incorporating, not demolishing, the central section of the original building. Over time, additional interior modifications hid historical details. However, a full restoration through the Texas Historic Courthouse Restoration program in 2012 uncovered original light fixtures and restored oak wainscoting along with a plaster bas-relief of Lady Justice reinstalled behind the original judge’s bench. Peruse the exhibits and artifacts on the main floor as you tour the courthouse.
The 1930s Art Deco jail is the recommended second stop. Jail and adjacent Firehouse authenticity was maintained when the Hamilton County Historical Museum installed county history exhibits. Don’t miss the New Deal era mural at the Post Office then head outdoors for a walk on the Pecan Creek Park trail through downtown. Take the north end path to traverse Bullman Bridge, relocated from the Leon River, the rare bowstring iron bridge now leads pedestrians and cyclists to a local nature trail.