When approaching the 1937 Falls County Courthouse in Marlin for its rededication ceremony on October 16, 2021, visitors could not help being awestruck. Once worn and dingy, the exterior is now spotless—with flat and hand-carved limestone panels contrasted with shell limestone details, steel casement windows, and Art Moderne designs. The Texas pink granite steps and porches prepare visitors for the rich interior finishes. Inside, visitors find halls with seafoam green walls, rose and gray marble wainscots, and zig-zagged, two-toned terrazzo floors, as well as stunning aluminum and ribbed glass pendant light fixtures. Following the restoration, the courthouse is also more comfortable, functional, and safer. Old electrical systems were replaced, and HVAC was installed throughout the building in place of window units. The county courtroom and corridors have a unique, green-grained (or cerused) wood for the millwork and courtroom furnishings, while the district courtroom features beautifully carved rosewood and seafoam green walls.
The rededication ceremony featured First Lady of Texas Cecilia Abbott as the keynote speaker. Part of the ceremony included the ringing of a bell that was salvaged from an earlier 1880 courthouse, which is now displayed on the current building’s lawn. The bell was proudly rung by Building Superintendent Miguel Lopez, who was commended for his stewardship of the courthouse.
Praising the Texas Historical Commission’s Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program (THCPP), Abbott stated, “We are not just trying to save an old building, although that is important. Courthouse preservation projects support the economy with more than 600 jobs yearly and more than 12,000 jobs total since this program began.”
Falls County received its initial planning grant of $100,334 during the THCPP’s first grant cycle in 2000. After a nearly 20-year hiatus, the county successfully applied under the leadership of County Judge Jay Elliott, receiving a construction grant of $5,832,430 in 2018 to fully restore the courthouse.
Now restored to its historic beauty and bolstered by more functionality and energy efficiency, the Art Moderne masterpiece stands ready to impress heritage tourists and serve the citizens of Falls County for decades to come.
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