Wandering around Texas – Courthouses

At heart, I am a photographer.  I have often said, “if it is worth doing, it is worth photographing.”  My point is that if I don’t photograph the moment, there is a good chance I will forget it – and what’s the point of doing something you will just forget?  I suppose that is a philosophical question (is there value in doing something you won’t remember?), but for me, I want to remember what I do.

In 2011 I graduated from the University of Houston Law Center, and took my first job as an attorney for the Grossman Law Offices.  As an attorney, I have had the distinct pleasure of traveling all around the great state of Texas.  I am called out of town to attend depositions, meet with clients, interview witness, take video statements, and of course, attend hearings.  It is the latter that takes me to various courthouses across this great state.  I love courthouses.  I love the architecture, the history, the living drama that is played out everyday in their hallowed halls.

Being a photographer at heart, I have enjoyed taking snapshots of the various courthouses I have visited, as visual reminders of where I have been and what I have done.  Over the last two years, I have uploaded many of these photos on social media, chronicling my “adventures” as I wander across Texas.

As my time with Grossman Law Offices is winding down, and I prepare to move on to my next “adventure”, I thought it was appropriate to include a few that best represent my travels for this first post to my blog.

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Wise County –

Well, this one should be obvious.  It’s MY county…

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Ector County –

I successfully litigated my first case in Odessa, Texas.  This case brought me out to West Texas regularly, but usually just for day trips.

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Denton County –

I tried my first civil lawsuit here.  Great memories!

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Gregg County –

Longview, Texas is not on many people’s list of “must-see” destinations.  However, Longview, Texas happens to be where my former Youth Pastor, Bud Miller, calls home.  The best part of traveling as much as I did, was that I had the chance to see old friends.

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Dallas County –

Aside from my civil cases, I also handled a small criminal defense docket.  This made me a frequent visitor at the Frank Crowley Courthouse.  I spent a great deal of time in this building, as both a police officer and as an attorney.

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Bexar County –

San Antonio is a great city.  The history, the architecture, and the people make this a great place to visit, and an even better place to live (so I’ve been told).  The Bexar County Courthouse is one of my favorites in Texas, as it is the original “old” courthouse which is still in use for nearly all civil matters (a lot of old courthouses are only used for very limited functions, and the run-of-the-mill cases are heard in newer “annexes” or other buildings.)

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Tarrant County –

This is the old, original courthouse in Fort Worth.  I have no idea what actually is done here.  I went in once, and was told I was in the wrong place, but instead I needed to go across the street and down a ways to the new civil courthouse.  Every time I would travel to our “sister-city” to the west, I would see this beautiful building and wonder what kind of case could get me in!

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Galveston County –

It may be one of the ‘new’ courthouses in Texas, but let’s be honest, it’s in Galveston, so it’s awesome!  My family has been vacationing in Galveston since 2007.  We love it!  We love the beach, the restaurants, the strand, and just spending time together.  I had a Monday morning hearing, so we packed up the minivan and headed down on Friday for a fun, family weekend  away.  As a family, we took advantage of my traveling as much as possible, combining work trips and vacations in Galveston, Austin, and Houston.

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McLennan County –

This courthouse represents the dozens of venues across the state where we filed Rule 202 Petitions for a pre-suit deposition, only to learn there was no case and we had wasted our time.  This happened a lot.  It was called “the cost of doing business.”  All I know is that I got to travel all over Texas visiting cool courthouses!

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Travis County –

This courthouse represents all those I visited which disappointed.  Seriously.  It wasn’t “old – cool”, it was just “old – dirty.”  DIS-A-PPOINTING!  But what can you really expect out of Austin?  They spend all their time and energy “keep[ing] Austin weird.”

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Comal County –

This post is not a ranking of the best courthouses in Texas.  If it were, the Comal County Courthouse would be #1.  This is the coolest courthouse I’ve ever seen.  Not just because it is in the VERY cool town of Fredericksburg, Texas, or because it looks like a medieval castle, or because the inside has been completely refurbished (NOT remodeled!), but because of ALL of these things!  Seriously, if you like historic buildings, do yourself a favor and GO SEE IT!  The staff inside the courthouse are the nicest people you will find.  They will give you a brochure explaining what has been refurbished to the original, what has been changed over time, and will take you on a tour if time permits.  The main courtroom is amazing.

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DeWitt County –

I never entered this courthouse.  I didn’t have a hearing, or any other business to take me inside.  There are a lot of courthouses in cities I traveled to or through which had great architecture, and could rank highly if I did a “best courthouses in Texas” post.  Alas, this is not that post.

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Parker County –

This courthouse sits in the MIDDLE of a traffic circle in Weatherford, Texas.  I must say, it was a really cool building and an even more interesting city plan.  The retail area that has been developed across from the courthouse is worth visiting as well.  I found myself at the courthouse at the end of the workday, and enjoyed walking around and checking out the shopping before heading back home.  If you find yourself in Weatherford, I would highly recommend spending the time to see the sights.  Image

Harris County –

I lived in Houston, Texas for three years while I was in law school.  I spent a lot of time downtown, but most of it was spent across the street at 1201 Franklin at the criminal courthouse (where I interned with the District Attorney’s Office).  Image

Montague County –

You know how people say it’s not about the destination, but the journey?  Well, Montague, Texas is not a destination worth visiting.  However, the road out to Montague from the metroplex is AWESOME!  Why?  German food.  Do yourself a favor, drive out to Montague to see the courthouse, but leave yourself plenty of time to stop in Muenster and St. Jo for a bite to eat and to pick up some of the best German cured-sausage at Fischer’s Meat Market!

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Live Oak County –

Nestled between San Antonio and Corpus Christi lies George West, Texas.  This courthouse represents all those places in Texas that are unaccessible by plane (or at least by Southwest Airlines!), requiring a good, long drive to get to.  This was also the last courthouse I traveled to with Grossman Law Offices.  It is also the same courthouse where my Aunt spent quite a bit of time many decades ago dealing with less pleasant matters.

Growing up, my dad would always have his radio tuned to an oldies station where I first heard the song by Dion, “The Wanderer.”  The lyrics stuck with me, and I often found myself humming the tune as I drove through small-town Texas visiting its historic courthouses:

“I’m the type of guy that likes to roam around
I’m never in one place I roam from town to town

Cause I’m a wanderer, yeah a wanderer
I roam around around around around”

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