April 23, 2022
(Photos and memories of Georgetown, Texas from April 5, 2017)
Texans are known to brag about their state, and one of the things they like to brag about is their spring wildflowers. Although skepticism is good for mental health, don’t be skeptical of Texas wildflowers; they’re remarkable — as was the cloudless sky, which enhanced the colors remarkably. But sunny days aren’t all that unusual for central Texas:
Texas Highways magazine has an excellent run-down of the various wildflowers in the state here. Two varieties predominate in Central Texas, the bluebonnet and the (red) Indian paintbrush. They bloom in late March and early April and are easily found along rural highways in central Texas, including Williamson County, north of Austin. Here are a few more photos:
The city of Georgetown is the county seat of Williamson County, Texas. Georgetown boasts a population of 67,000 in 2020, up from 47,000 in 2010, making it America’s 7th fastest growing city. Williamson County, population 609,000, is just north of Austin, and as Austin grows rapidly, this county is quickly becoming Austin’s northern suburbs.
Williamson County is now too big a place to be using its old courthouse anymore, so a modern Justice Center has been built to replace the old courthouse. Six or seven blocks away, the old courthouse still stands in the center of the town square, easily found by its metal dome rising above the surrounding two-story buildings. This grand three-story yellow brick structure is preserved well and well-renovated and erected in 1910.
The old Confederate monument stands outside the entrance to the old courthouse. Like so many others in the old South, this monument honors the memories of soldiers and sailors who fought in that war rather than its causes. “In Memory of the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors,” reads the inscription. As a Pennsylvanian born and bred, I don’t carry angst for wars fought over a hundred years ago. I also understand that war cannot be changed to peace without honoring an adversary’s honored dead. I took this photo in 2017, and I hope this statue remains as long as these soldiers’ descendants live nearby.
Along the side of the old courthouse stands a historical sign and a statue of county prosecutor Dan Moody (shown below). In 1923-24 Moody prosecuted ten Ku Klux Klansmen for flogging a white traveling salesman after he had ignored their warning to leave Georgetown. Despite the Klan’s impressive power in Texas at the time, Moody won his case, garnered great fame for himself, and later became state attorney general and the 30th governor of Texas.
Georgetown boasts that it has the “most beautiful town square in Texas.” Every town in Texas brags about something or other, and if they did not, the local Chamber of Commerce and tourist board would find something to brag about. But, as I said earlier about Texans bragging on their wildflowers, don’t be skeptical about the Georgetown locals bragging about their town square. It is, in fact, a beautiful location.
The beautiful old courthouse and the buildings around the courthouse have been designated the Williamson County Courthouse Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Most of the structures in the square date from the 1880s and 1890s (the most beautiful era of American architecture) and are generally two-story buildings constructed of handsome red brick or locally quarried limestone.
I’ve put together a gallery of some of the buildings around the square:
The photo above shows a building on the corner with an onion dome. The historical sign on the building refers to these features as a “pressed metal parapet.” Here’s a closer look:
The corner park shown in the gallery below includes the town’s Founding Stone marker. The white church is nearby.
I hope you enjoyed your visit to Georgetown, Texas!
A list of all photo posts from the American County Seats series in TimManBlog can be found here.
All photos were taken by the author on April 5, 2017.
I’m trying to travel to all of America’s county courthouses, and each month a post about my visit to the most interesting county seats. It’s a hobby and donations are greatly appreciated to help defer my costs.
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