1914 courthouse 1914 Nueces County Courthouse Abandoned abandoned building Corpus abandoned courthouse abandoned jailhouse Americana Architecture Corpus Christi empress Courthouses Dusty Durrill Explained falling terra cotta falling terracotta Friends of the Courthouse Government Harbor Bridge courthouse Judge Robert Barnes Lexland limited News North America Nueces County Courthouse Nueces County Courthouse Development Partners old corpus christi courthouse old nueces courthouse old texas courthouse Prisons

Nueces County Courthouse: Empress in Distress

Nueces County

When it was constructed in 1914, the Nueces County Courthouse was each majestic and large. The native newspaper proudly declared “the new building poses us an empress, sitting on her throne with her courtiers, the city of Corpus Christi lying at her feet.”  The spectacular Basic-Revival construction was the county’s third courthouse, constructed throughout a time when county buildings represented extra to the individuals than mere workplaces and courtrooms.  It was symbolic to the arrival of Corpus Christi Bay as an financial middle of South Texas.

Through the twentieth century Nueces County exploded in measurement, ultimately outgrowing the sq. footage of the constructing.  The courthouse battled progress, know-how, and a number of hurricanes however finally it misplaced its fights with capability, deterioration, and upkeep funding.  Because the county moved out in 1977, the courthouse has spent forty years unused and deteriorating whereas Corpus Christi’s most adorned civil servants debated its future.

In 2017, that future might lastly come into focus.

cowl photograph courtesy Carson Crisp

Map it! ( Google | Bing )

*

Nueces County Courthouse Historical past

Nueces County’s Hollub Courthouse and Jail, circa 1878. To the left of the two-story 1875 courthouse sits the unique 1857 courthouse. (supply)

Nueces (pronounced “new-aces”) County, Texas, was established in 1843.  In 1857 the fledgling county constructed its first courthouse, a $four,000 constructing which took greater than three years to construct and didn’t include a jail, which the residents quickly realized can be a necessity.

A second, bigger courthouse with jail was constructed subsequent to the primary courthouse in 1875.  It was named the Hollub Courthouse for its architect.

The second Nueces County Courthouse value $15,000 to construct and dwarfed the primary courthouse, which now resided in its shadow.  Nueces County’s last public hangings befell on the platform behind the jail of the Hollub Courthouse.

After thirty-eight years with the second courthouse Nueces County was outgrowing its amenities as soon as extra.  4 analysis members of the commissioner’s courtroom traveled throughout Texas to view different courthouses and converse to different judges.  The widespread theme discovered from the visits:  Construct the courthouse greater than you want.  Nueces had already outgrown two courthouses, County Decide Walter Timon acquired the message.

Residents have been nervous concerning the deliberate value and measurement of the courthouse, however a $250,000 bond challenge was permitted in 1913.  Architect Harvey L. Web page (1859 – 1934) of Washington D.C. was employed to design the constructing, whereas the Gordon-Kruger Firm of San Antonio dealt with development.  Groundbreaking passed off on St. Patrick’s Day of 1914 and development was completed by December of that yr.

Gordon-Kruger Development Firm performs "Rapid Construction Work" on the Nueces County Courthouse.circa 1914. (supply)

Gordon-Kruger introduced the brand new courthouse can be prepared for occupancy on January 1st, 1915.  The older courthouses remained, and can be torn down after one other yr.  A June 1914 information article went into element concerning the interval development strategies:

“Inside the brick, hollow tile is being placed, which has now been considered to be a great asset in building, for it covers a great deal of space, gives the same amount of space, allows air passage, and is considerably lighter in weight.”

Nueces County Courthouses: Value vs. Service Life

  • 1857: $four,000 (S.L.: 21 years.)
  • 1875: $15,000 (S.L.: 39 years.)
  • 1914: $250okay + $150okay + $77okay + $85okay = $562okay (S.L.: 63 years.)
  • 1977: $19.6 million+ (S.L.: 40+ years.)

*

1914 Nueces County Courthouse

1914 Nueces County Courthouse postcard, circa 1914-1915.1914 Nueces County Courthouse postcard, circa 1914-1915.

Architect Harvey Web page designed a showpiece for Southern Texas, molded in the form of a T.  A main six-story wing stretched east-west, flanked by two four-story wings that reached north and south.  Constructing composition was mainly brick and stone with hand-crafted adornments reflecting a less-hurried age: Terra cotta trim work, towering Ionic columns, and Caryatid pillars.

An east-facing grand staircase led guests as much as the second-floor foremost entrance, which opens to what serves as the first degree.  It was constructed to go well with the local weather; louvered inside doorways, lighting fixtures with built-in followers, and a big properly minimize by means of the third and fourth flooring allowed for airflow by way of the constructing from the second-floor foyer.  Many Nueces residents have been launched to new innovations such because the elevator and typewriter by the courthouse.

Inside, the 1914 Nueces County Courthouse was no much less a powerful construction.  Guests have been greeted by lengthy corridors with expansive, fourteen-foot-high ceilings.  The primary 4 flooring contained workplaces and courtrooms, the latter of which occupied grand rooms with viewing balconies in the terminus of every wing.  The fifth and sixth flooring of the east-west hall housed the county jail; it was separated from the remainder of the constructing by a further air area included to remove noise.

1914 Nueces County Courthouse postcards, circa 1915-1920s

The sheriff’s division had its personal particular elevator with a separate ground-floor entrance that allowed for simpler motion of prisoners.  Flats have been offered for the jailer and different county officers, a number of of whom resided in the constructing till the 1950s.  On the sixth flooring two jail cells have been transformed into a personal “death cell” gallows with lure doorways, so prisoners “would not have to go outside for execution and undergo any humiliation.”

Beneath the gallows was the jail kitchen.  Prisoners used to joke about the place the meat got here from, however the courthouse gallows have been reportedly by no means used.  Shortly after the courthouse was completed the state outlawed hangings and duty for finishing up executions shifted to state-level.  The Corpus Christi Democrat stated:

“If it were in the power of prisoners of centuries ago to postpone their crimes until the present day, it is almost a surety they would have committed these crimes in Nueces County, when the jail was completed, when they could be carried to their room in the county’s hotel in an exhilarating elevator ride of five flights, and on reaching the top, they would be greeted with a view of the beautiful Corpus Christi Bay that is seldom afforded to anyone.”

click on thumbnails to enlarge

classic photographs courtesy the Itinerant Photographer

Along with prisoners the 1914 courthouse housed quite a few households all through its early days and up till the early 1950s.  Amongst its full-time residents have been the standing jailer, who lived together with his household in a fifth-floor house, in addition to different full-time county providers corresponding to emergency response and upkeep crews who lived with their households in small flats on the second, third, and fourth flooring.  This follow continued for forty years.

A 1921 newspaper headline says "Nueces County Courthouse Awarded Everts Trophy; Is Massive Building." A 1921 newspaper headline says “Nueces County Courthouse Awarded Everts Trophy; Is Massive Building.” (supply)

When the Nueces County courthouse was new, it was an immense and spectacular construction that attracted guests from everywhere in the state.  Charles P. Taft, brother of the previous president, as soon as stated the Nueces County Courthouse was “worthy of being the state capitol.”

Courthouse landscaping was the work of Corpus Christi resident Julia Caldwell.  Her mixture of palm timber, hardy flowers, and decorative shrubbery complemented the peaceable fountain and goldfish pond with water lilies.  Caldwell’s work was laudable and acknowledged when the Nueces County courthouse gained 5 successive Everts Cups, an award for having “the handsomest, cleanest, most sanitary building, and best-landscaped grounds in the state.”

*

1919 Texas Hurricane

Nueces County Courthouse after the 1919 Texas Hurricane. Nueces County Courthouse after the 1919 Texas Hurricane. (supply)

Earlier than the courthouse reached its fifth birthday, it was referred to as upon to guard residents from the fourth-deadliest hurricane of the 20th century.  On September 14th, 1919, 110 mile-per-hour winds and 16-foot tidal waves crashed upon downtown Corpus Christi.  Greater than 2,500 townspeople risked their lives to make their solution to the robust Nueces courthouse for refuge in its higher flooring.  One account tells of how the city’s males shaped a human chain that stretched throughout the road to catch these trying to swim by means of floodwaters to the courthouse for security.

After the storm grim headlines revealed a dying toll that grew by the day.  On September 17th, 1919, the Caller-Occasions introduced “The death list exceeds 200 and may even reach 300 indicated by latest figures.”  Two days later the paper proclaimed “the death list will exceed 300 and may go above 400.”

On September 22nd, 1919, the quantity was higher nonetheless: “Death List Now Exceeds 400.”  The ultimate numbers are unsure, nevertheless Nueces County estimated the lack of at the least 400 lives and $20 million in property injury.

The 1914 Nueces County Courthouse circa 1940sThe 1914 Nueces County Courthouse circa 1940s.

*

Nueces County Courthouse: Early Years

Nueces County Courthouse won the silver loving cup news article from 1929(supply)

Fourteen years after it opened the 1914 Nueces County Courthouse was nonetheless accumulating accolades.  For 3 successive years (1927–1929) the courthouse gained a Silver Loving Cup for the best-kept constructing and grounds, and in September of 1929 the courthouse was formally acknowledged as “one of the most imposing and best-planned county buildings in the state.”

The courthouse jail additionally remained one of many premier in the state, having been referred to as “one of the best equipped and best kept jails in Texas.”

The identical courthouse that when appeared over-sized to its residents lasted all of fifteen years earlier than the booming Nueces County inhabitants caught up in measurement, and ultimately overcrowded the constructing.  A proposed $100,000 addition – accredited by the Commissioner’s Courtroom in August of 1930 – added 18,000 sq. ft.  This was completed by extending the size of the east-west hall almost a hundred percent, a transfer which elevated the constructing’s general sq. footage to 86,400.  The courthouse extension extends west from the unique basis.  It took slightly below a yr to construct and was prepared for occupancy by July of 1931.

1914 Nueces County Courthouse & 1930-31 addition1914 Nueces County Courthouse & 1930-31 addition

Certainly one of Nueces County’s largest jailbreaks in historical past got here in December of 1937, when 9 males escaped from the sixth-floor courthouse jail. Officers stated the escapees labored a number of rivets unfastened and made a small gap in the wall, which gave them entry to an outdoor window.  They reached the bottom by the use of a rope manufactured from blankets, sheets, and different mattresses coverings.

A footnote to the story was the misfortune of Eduardo Ramirez, an obese prisoner who reportedly acquired caught in the wall in the course of the escape.  Fellow escapee Willie Rodriguez later described how he needed to twist Eduardo’s nostril to get him by means of the opening:

“He got stuck in the hole, with his head on one side of the wall and his feet on the other. Two of us pulled like everything and two other pushed, but we couldn’t get him through that little hole…  That hole was plugged, and the other two men who were still inside were about to have to stay inside.  So something just had to be done, so I twisted Eduardo’s nose hard and it made him wiggle through.  That way we got out.”

Prisoner twisted Ramirez' nose to force him through small hole used in jailbreak of Nueces County Courthouse*

Nueces Courthouse 1940s-50s: County Outgrows Constructing

Ten years after the west wing addition was accomplished, overcrowding remained a problem.  In March of 1941 three county divisions have been pressured to maneuver out of the courthouse.

In September of 1941 the Nueces County Courthouse turned a hurricane shelter once more, this time to 600 refugees through the 1941 Texas Hurricane.  Injury to the courthouse was principally superficial, nevertheless studies of the constructing’s crumbling terra cotta first appeared in October of 1943.

Waiting on the Weather: Women and children huddle for safety in the courthouse hallways during a hurricane in September of 1941.Ready on the Climate: Ladies and youngsters huddle for security in the courthouse hallways throughout a hurricane in September of 1941. (supply)

The Caller-Occasions famous “along the south side of the entire east wing of the 30 year-old structure the terra cotta between the fourth and fifth floors has sagged, threatening to collapse and fall to the ground.”  In 1943 the Commissioner’s Courtroom spent $14,000 to restore the façade.

[ Humor: In April of 1947 the county’s gardener observed a “pretty plant growing in the flower bed” of the courthouse.  He couldn’t determine the vegetation and assumed it should have sprouted from seeds in a corsage a prisoner tossed out of a jail window.  A Federal narcotics agent visited in July and recognized the pungent foliage as a marijuana plant… rising in the courthouse backyard. ]

Extra county division workplaces moved out of the Nueces Courthouse in October of 1954; the Texas Division of Public Security, Drivers License Division Workplace, and Freeway Patrol Workplace relocated to the brand new Public Security Headquarters constructing.  This was adopted by the County Tax workplaces, which moved right into a constructing on Shoreline Boulevard close to Metropolis Corridor in the late 1950s.

District Lawyer Sam Jones: "Somebody didn't want [the prisoner] to testify."District Lawyer Sam Jones: “Somebody didn’t want [the prisoner] to testify.” (supply)One other well-publicized Nueces Courthouse jailbreak got here in Might of 1955.  Two prisoners made their approach down an improvised rope product of rubber hose to flee from the highest flooring jail, however what notably involved officers was that one of many escapees – a recognized member of a criminal offense ring who was resulting from testify that week – had informed one other prisoner he had a machine gun “stashed out” to be used after his escape.

Sad was District Lawyer Sam Jones, who believed the escape was an inside job and proclaimed to reporters “Somebody let him out of jail… somebody didn’t want [him] to testify… The sheriff has the keys to the jail. I do not.”

By the mid-1950s not solely was area a problem, the constructing was quick turning into outdated as properly.  New courthouses had central air con, giant parking tons, decrease ceilings, trendy elevators, and separate quarters for female and male jurors.  In 1955 the Commissioner’s Courtroom appointed a Residents Courthouse Advisory Committee (CCAC) was to review capability and repair points with the 41 year-old courthouse.

In February of 1956 Nueces County acquired its first supply for the courthouse.  A gaggle of New York actual property sellers despatched the county a letter claiming curiosity in “acquiring prime office building property in the southwest.”  The supply was referred to the CCAC, however the deal by no means obtained off the bottom.

*

Nueces Courthouse 1960s: Annex, Enlargement vs. New Construct

The Annex or "Jury Room" was constructed between 1961-1963.  It later turned house to the 13th Civil Appeals Courtroom. The Annex or “Jury Room” was constructed between 1961-1963.  It later turned house to the 13th Civil Appeals Courtroom. (supply)

In 1957 County Commissioners ordered an engineering report for the courthouse, carried out by W.A. Raatz of Corpus Christi.  This report was influential in figuring out whether or not the courthouse can be reworked and expanded, or a brand new constructing can be constructed.

Finally it was decided it might be inexpensive to restore and broaden the prevailing courthouse for an estimated $2.7 million, than to construct a completely new construction for an estimated $5 million.  It was anticipated voters would comply with cross a bond problem for the $2.7 million refurbishment, nevertheless voters struck the proposal down altogether.

The fallback plan was the annex constructing, also referred to as the “Jury Building” or “Jury Room.”  It was constructed in the northeast nook of the courthouse lot in 1961 with $77,000 from the courthouse’s upkeep price range.  The shortage of a publicly funded bond meant the annex was architecturally primary, had little options, and took a number of years to finish.

Dealing with the courthouse, the 1961 annex sat simply to the suitable of the primary entrance and in entrance of the North Wing.  It was neither as giant nor ornate as the primary constructing, and for many of its life sat hidden behind a row of thick timber.  The Jury Constructing related to the primary courthouse by way of ramp to the primary flooring, passing via what was as soon as the Tax (and later Commissioner’s) workplaces.

The annex was meant to serve juries, however courthouse overcrowding shortly pressured it into obligation because the 13th Civil Appeals District Courtroom by 1963.

The annex’s differing architectural type and lack of historic significance led to the addition being demolished in the mid-1990s; at present it’s a big patch of grass.

Nueces County Courthouse Annex, R.I.P. (1961 – 1996)

The unloved Nueces County Courthouse annex awaits demolition in this early 1990s photograph. The unloved Nueces County Courthouse annex awaits demolition in this early 1990s photograph. (supply)

*

Courthouse & Harbor Bridge Infrastructure Venture

Construction of intersection of I-35 & US-181 in Corpus Christi, circa 1959. The pedestrian ramp that leads to the courthouse had just been finished. Development of intersection of I-35 & US-181 in Corpus Christi, circa 1959. The pedestrian ramp that results in the Nueces courthouse had simply been completed. (supply)

Some of the drastic modifications to the Corpus Christi panorama occurred with the development of the Harbor Bridge and the extension of Interstate Freeway 37 from 1957 to 1959.

The Nueces County Courthouse stands on the northeast intersection of those two giant infrastructure tasks.  One ramp for freeway 181 nonetheless carries automobiles inside yards of the constructing at this time, and the pedestrian walkway which permits guests on foot to stroll inside fifty ft of the constructing’s south entrance continues to be open.

A corollary to such progress was the disruption to the historic road grid system in downtown Corpus Christi; the brand new bridge and freeway primarily minimize off whole blocks from the remainder of the town, making locations just like the courthouse much less accessible to the group.

Construction of Harbor Bay Bridge in Corpus Christi, circa 1959. 1914 Nueces Courthouse appears in the foreground. Development of Harbor Bridge in Corpus Christi, circa 1959. The 1914 Nueces Courthouse seems in the foreground. (supply)

*

Mystery Cup in Nueces County Courthouse 1960The place did this Cup come from? (supply)

[ Perhaps it was Awarded to Somebody Else? In March of 1960 the Caller-Occasions requested about a big presentation cup on show in the county commissioner’s courtroom.  It had been there so long as anyone might keep in mind, however no one appeared to know a lot about it.  On the cup was engraved: “The Arthur Everts Cup, Awarded for the Best Kept Court House Grounds in Texas, Civic Dept., Texas Federation Woman’s Clubs, 1915.”  

The confusion lies behind the very fact courthouse landscaping was not underway till the earlier courthouses have been demolished in 1916.  For the primary yr after the 1914 courthouse was constructed, the previous courthouses remained beside it on the property.  Moreover, a assessment of Commissioners’ Courtroom minutes in 1915 and 1916 present no award acquired for landscaping nor one issued by the Federation of Lady’s Golf equipment. ] 

*

By 1962 the courthouse was nearing the top of a five-year refreshment that noticed vital inside modifications. The primary flooring acquired recent paint and new lighting whereas the courtrooms got new false ceilings and “remodeled into attractive chambers.”

New glass doorways added to the primary and aspect entrances introduced pure mild inside and added a contemporary contact.  The previous tax workplaces had their cages eliminated and partitions have been put in to create new workplaces.  Jails acquired new showers and a glassed-in reserving space.  Air con models have been added and constructing’s terra cotta was face-lifted and repaired.

In an indication of the occasions, one of many marketed enhancements was “…all steam pipes have been wrapped with asbestos.”

1962 news article shows off new updates at the courthouse, including lowered false ceilings & fluorescent lighting. A 1962 information article exhibits off new updates on the courthouse, together with lowered false ceilings & fluorescent lighting. (supply)

Except for the roof, the constructing was “sound as a dollar,” in accordance with Superintendent Leslie Chappell.  The Caller-Occasions acknowledged the enhancements introduced forth by Nueces County.  “The once dull and decaying building, reflected by the old houses and buildings that surrounded it, now looks imposing and bright, with the wide expanse of the freeway giving a clear view of its classic beauty.”

A 1960s Corpus Christi postcard features the courthouse and the new Bay Bridge.A 1960s Corpus Christi postcard options the courthouse and the brand new Bay Bridge.

Victories have been short-lived; by 1967 the Nueces County Courthouse resumed its routine of falling aside, beginning with the terra cotta.  In 1969 county staff on the courthouse have been “hoping and praying” the constructing might maintain collectively “before it collapses completely.”

Ceilings in numerous workplaces started to cave in periodically, and now and again previous scorching water pipes exploded beneath strain.  By 1971 the crumbling had turn out to be so widespread, some courthouse staff started to return in to work sporting exhausting hats.

To protect themselves from falling terra cotta in 1971, courthouse employees wore hard hats to work.To guard themselves from falling terra cotta in 1971, some courthouse staff wore arduous hats to work. (supply)

[ Humor:  In 1967 workmen began changing tiles on one part of the roof.  A passerby remarked: “They ought to jack up the roof and run a new courthouse under it.” ]

*

Nueces Courthouse 1970s: On Life Help

Damage done by Hurricane Celia around the courthouse was extensive, circa 1970.Injury finished by Hurricane Celia across the courthouse was in depth, circa 1970. (supply)

On August fifth, 1970, Hurricane Celia pounded Corpus Christi for almost two days.  It was the third main hurricane for the previous Nueces County Courthouse.  The constructing misplaced vital parts of its facade whereas damaged home windows and water injury to varied workplaces led to an estimated complete loss approaching $64,000.  A lot of the injury was not simply quantifiable, such because the lack of previous data saved in a loft of the district clerk’s workplace which included immigration and naturalization papers courting again to the final century.

In April of 1971 County commissioner Solomon Ortiz proposed that an train space for county prisoners be offered on the roof of the Nueces County Courthouse.  Ortiz stated some prisoners serve so long as two years in county jail and that many now have been there longer than a yr. “We need to get these people out in the sunshine.”

Whereas the previous courthouse was crumbling, a motion started in the summer time of 1972 to carry a bond election to construct a brand new courthouse.  Nevertheless help was not coming from the county’s residents, who rejected plans for a bond problem.  Stated one letter-to-the-editor, “the taxpayers will not accept any grandiose plans nor support any huge unrealistic bond issue which proposes an enormous building and grounds at an enormous price.”

In June of 1972, falling terra cotta destroyed a several-ton air conditioning unit next to the courthouse.In June of 1972, falling terra cotta destroyed a several-ton air con unit subsequent to the courthouse. (supply)

In the meantime, terra cotta continued to shed itself from the courthouse.  The only largest collapse got here in late June of 1972, when a number of thousand kilos of terra cotta on the north aspect of the constructing got here crashing down and destroyed a several-ton air con unit subsequent to the annex.  In consequence, protecting picket scaffolding was erected across the entryways, and the grounds have been fenced off from the general public.

Additionally nearing crucial failure was the courthouse jail, which by the 1970s was falling aside.  Metallic shards have been damaged off from crumbling bars and bunks and have been being normal into knives.  Partitions have been falling down (one prisoner escaped by pushing out his wall), chains have been being stolen, and the general security and safety was a critical concern.

In 1976 the county commissioned Related Planning of Chicago, IL, and Eugene Wukasch of Austin, TX, to supply a research that recognized potential adaptive makes use of for the previous courthouse.  A September 1976 Basic Providers Administration (GSA) research was carried out to check the feasibility of utilizing the previous Nueces County Courthouse as a federal courthouse.  The GSA report estimated it will value “around $7 million” to renovate and restore the previous constructing, whereas mentioning the constructing’s courtrooms are “relatively small by today’s standards” and its exterior has “a decidedly decaying appearance.”

The GSA handed on the 1914 courthouse, and ultimately constructed a brand new Federal District Courtroom three blocks east of the 1914 constructing on Shoreline Boulevard in the yr 2000.

The Federal Courthouse was built in 2000, three blocks east of the 1914 Nueces County CourthouseCorpus Christi’s Federal Courthouse was constructed in 2000 three blocks east of the 1914 Nueces County Courthouse (seen on the left of this Google Streetview photograph).

The 1914 courthouse had no scarcity of detractors, together with Ed Harte, writer of the Corpus Christi Caller-Occasions.  Harte was given a private tour, after which he remarked “that’s the ugliest building I’ve ever seen.”  Newspaper columnist and reporter Nick Jimenez agreed.  “Let’s face it, the old courthouse isn’t all that beautiful, inside or out.”  Extra succinct was his declare that the 1914 courthouse was “the most terrible building I’ve ever been in.”

Different reporters compiled their very own sarcastic listing of constructing reuse proposals, together with “using it as a bat house and then harvesting the guano” to “filling it up with historians and sealing it off.”

*

Constructing a Alternative Courthouse

In July of 1972 the County started organizing a bond difficulty election to construct a brand new courthouse at one among two websites for an estimated value between $12 and $14 million.  By August the location was chosen and the estimated value had escalated to $14.5 million.  For this sum, county officers and designers estimated the brand new complicated can be enough “for at least 20 years.”

First the county must get public approval for the bond challenge.  As a part of the publicity marketing campaign to hunt approval, a collection of ads have been launched in the summer time of 1972 titled “Our Nueces County Courthouse. It’s a Shame.”

“It’s a Shame” Nueces County Courthouse marketing campaign, circa 1972

[ source | source | source | source ]

The marketing campaign was a hit and gained approval for the bond election.  By June of 1974 floor preparations for the brand new courthouse have been underway, and by July the inspiration was poured.  By February of 1976 the bond concern for the brand new courthouse had grown from $14.5 million to $18.5 million.

By Texas regulation the Texas Historic Fee (THC) have to be advised six months earlier than any county courthouse is vacated or demolished; in March of 1976 the county notified the THC of its intentions to maneuver out of the constructing in the autumn of that yr.

Construction of the new Nueces County Courthouse underway, circa 1975.Development of the brand new Nueces County Courthouse underway, circa 1975. (courtesy Jay Phagan)

THC preservationist and lawyer Cecil Burney shortly moved to have the 1914 construction added to the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations, on which it was formally positioned on June 24th, 1976.  The Nueces County Courthouse turned the primary construction in Corpus Christi to be listed on the nationwide register.  This designation didn’t guarantee salvation, however it difficult demolition and made restoration tasks eligible for federal funds.

In June of 1976 the brand new Nueces County Courthouse was nearing completion.  Commissioners mentioned itemizing the previous courthouse on the market at a minimal worth of $500,000, nevertheless some commissioners have been in favor of implementing utilization restrictions on the constructing for potential consumers, together with that the property wouldn’t be used to promote alcoholic drinks nor be was a therapeutic massage parlor.  Stated Commissioner J.P. Luby, “this is sacred ground to me… I’d just hate to see something like ‘Courthouse-a-Go-Go’ or some wild place.”  Commissioners Carl Bluntzer, Mike Westergren, and Robert Barnes all believed any restrictions imposed may prohibit its worth and harm its sale.

In 1976 terra cotta crashed onto the Nueces Courthouse steps for the umpteenth time.In 1976 terra cotta crashed onto the Nueces Courthouse steps for the umpteenth time. (supply)

To the courthouse staff who heard the sound of thunder one morning in August 1976 as extra terra cotta dealing with fell off the previous courthouse, the transfer to the brand new constructing couldn’t come quickly sufficient.

Wet climate in the autumn of 1976 pushed the estimated completion date for the brand new courthouse to March of 1977.  Further delays on account of employee strikes pushed the completion date to the summer time of 1977.  By this time, the development worth for the brand new constructing had risen to $19.6 million.

*

Buddies of the Courthouse

The Buddies of the Courthouse was a non-profit organized in late 1976 by 4 high-profile historians from numerous backgrounds.  Cecil Burney was a adorned lawyer and consultant of the Texas Historic Fee, Lee John Govatos was an area architect, Margaret Ramage was a journalist with the Caller-Occasions, and Margaret Walberg was President of the Artwork Middle of Corpus Christi and the Nueces County Historic Society.

One of many Buddies’ first steps was to submit a historic marker software.  In September of 1976 one other spherical of courthouse re-use proposals emerged, this time calling for using the constructing as a central headquarters for state businesses or workplaces for the United Approach.  Cecil Burney prompt that a consolidation of the state businesses into one constructing might save taxpayer cash:

“It would be an ideal place to locate all the state agencies in one building.  Currently, there are 29 state agencies occupying 61,957 square feet at a cost of $249,752.01.  And if all these agencies were housed in one location, it would be easy for people to find them. If you ever tried to find a state agency, you know what I mean.”

Friends of the Courthouse founder Margaret Ramage unveils new historic marker in front of the 1914 Nueces County Courthouse.Buddies of the Courthouse founder Margaret Ramage unveils new historic marker in entrance of the 1914 Nueces County Courthouse. (supply)

In November of 1976 the Pals of the Courthouse put forth an software for $775,000 in federal funds to renovate the courthouse.  County Decide Robert Barnes took exception with the appliance and responded by asking “Were taxpayers misled?  People were told this building wasn’t usable.  I think that pushed the bond issue along.  Much of the literature and arguments in favor of the new courthouse indicated that the building was unsafe and unsightly.”  Barnes did nevertheless help the Pals’ try to hunt $5,000 in federal cash to fund a feasibility research on what to do with the previous courthouse.

In January of 1977 the THC introduced the approval of a $40,000 federal grant via the Nationwide Historic Preservation act for the Pals towards their acquisition of the previous Nueces County Courthouse.  The group must match the funds accepted via the Nationwide Historic Preservation act earlier than the federal funds might be launched.

*

Courthouse Transfer

The month-long migration to the brand new courthouse facility at 901 Leopard Road started to happen on July 29th, 1977.  Additionally occurring in the early hours of that morning was the shifting of prisoners to the brand new jail.  With little discover prisoners have been separated into smaller teams and whisked away in armed convoys on a route closely guarded by 80 sheriff deputies, immediately up the hill to the brand new location lower than a mile away.

Just one trace of an escape try got here, at 5 a.m., when a deputy intercepted a paper plate lowered on a string from the previous jail.  On the paper plate was written, “moving to new location.”

The brand new jail was such a stark distinction to the previous jail.  One bondsman joked “This place is too good. The prisoners don’t want to get out.”

The 'new' Nueces County Courthouse was still undergoing final construction in this 1976 photo before it opened the following year.The ‘new’ Nueces County Courthouse was nonetheless present process ultimate development in this 1976 photograph earlier than it opened the next yr. (supply)

The primary official day for enterprise in the brand new courthouse was August 1st, 1977.  Whereas the constructing was formally open, county workplaces would proceed shifting in all through the week.  Staff stated the brand new workplaces have been “like getting a raise.”  One draw back to the huge new construction was the primary month’s $32,000 utility invoice, almost 3 times what the county had been paying in the previous courthouse.

On August 2nd, 1977, county courthouse staff gathered on the previous courthouse location, lined up like a graduating class, and took a sentimental ‘family photo’ collectively.  Courthouse officers gathered as many current and retired courthouse officers for “one last class photo.”

County and courthouse staff gathered in entrance of the 1914 courthouse for one final "class photo" in 1977 earlier than shifting out for good.County and courthouse staff gathered in entrance of the 1914 courthouse for one final “class photo” in 1977 earlier than shifting out for good. (supply)

*

By August 11th, 1977, the courthouse was empty.  Solely the goldfish remained, oblivious residents of the small pond in entrance of the courthouse steps.

County purchasing agent Herbert Esse calls for bids in August of 1977County buying agent Herbert Esse requires bids in August of 1977. (supply)

In July 1977 the courthouse was lastly cleared to be provided on the market with “no strings attached” after the movement so as to add restrictions to the sale failed.  The public sale for the courthouse befell on August 25th, 1977.  The County Commissioners had set a minimal worth of $500,000, nevertheless there have been no bids for the previous constructing.  The Caller-Occasions famous “not even from a cartel of massage parlor operators and sex movie producers as was feared.”

Margaret Walberg of the Pals of the Courthouse stated a scarcity of bids meant the group might proceed with getting a feasibility research for a use of the courthouse.

Nueces County purchasing agent Herbert Esse auctions off courthouse equipment & supplies in September of 1977.Nueces County buying agent Herbert Esse auctions off courthouse gear & provides in September of 1977. (supply)

In September of 1977 the county held an public sale for a whole lot of things in the previous constructing, starting from jail mess kits to chairs, desks, typewriters, and submitting cupboards.  County buying agent Herbert Esse as soon as once more led the public sale, with a minimal bid on each merchandise being simply $1.

As quickly because the county departed the constructing, the Associates of the Courthouse tried to line up non-profit organizations to lease workplaces cheaply in order to maintain the place in day by day use.  For insurance coverage causes and to keep away from commitments which may hamper restoration, the constructing’s possession discouraged such leases, leaving the huge constructing open just for excursions and particular events.

*

A Vacant Life

County officers most popular demolition; nevertheless when it got here to re-use, officers might stay with a public possession plan.  Ideally a reduced sale to the town – who might then demolish the constructing and switch the property right into a park.  The very fact a personal celebration might flip the previous courthouse right into a lodge or nightclub nonetheless made some commissioners nervous.  “I think it would be considered an outrage if it was sold to a private bidder,” stated Decide Barnes.

The gravity of the previous courthouse’s addition to the Nationwide Register hit County Decide Barnes like a ton of terra cotta in October of 1976.  By itemizing the courthouse on the Register, preservationists had severely decreased the potential of demolition.  Barnes stated the county would now should get a allow from the state committee to demolish, one thing that may be troublesome to acquire.

In 1977 the old courthouse went to auction for $500,000, but it failed to sell. The annex (seen here) was built in 1961 and demolished in 1996.In August of 1977 the previous courthouse went to public sale for $500,000, nevertheless it did not promote. The annex (seen right here) was constructed in 1961 and demolished in 1996. (supply)

In December of 1977 the Buddies of the Courthouse organized a public assembly to debate potential makes use of for the previous courthouse.  Among the many recommendations to return out of the assembly have been turning the construction right into a public library or public workplaces for the Council of Governments or probably opening a restaurant, a tea room, or regulation workplaces in the constructing.  It was additionally instructed that the constructing might be used to retailer voting machines or might home lecture rooms for department programs from Del Mar Group School.

“I don’t see why anybody would want to buy it for use when they’ve choked it down our throats that it’s not any good.”

– Jeff McVoy, resident & public sale attendee

*

Darkish Ages: County Sells 1914 Courthouse

The historic constructing ended up in the arms of the Pals of the Courthouse for $200,000 in 1978.   Machinations behind the transaction have been complicated – the Associates obtained the property with assist from $100,000 in federal acquisition grants; nevertheless to be eligible for the grants, the land required its proprietor to offer a forty-year preservation deed covenant to the THC.  This covenant, which protects the constructing from demolition and critical modification, was set to run out on Might 31st, 2018.

Nueces County was unwilling to underwrite such a covenant, so a short lived company was shaped (LexLand Restricted) to buy the property at public sale and endorse the covenant on behalf of the Buddies.  The Associates might then qualify for the federal funds and buy the constructing from LexLand Restricted.

The Buddies of the Courthouse then bought the constructing to Charles Bennett & Associates in 1979.  Bennett owned the courthouse for twelve years and by no means developed the constructing.  Throughout that point he accrued an ongoing delinquent tax invoice with the town that ultimately eclipsed six figures.  Little modified for the courthouse throughout Bennett’s possession, however in 1983 the constructing was designated a State Antiquities Landmark (SAL).

*

Nueces Courthouse 1990s: Courthouse Options & Justice Constructing

Dusty Durrill was a former Navy pilot who turned enamored with Corpus Christi after spending time on the space’s naval air station.  He settled in Corpus in 1961 and bought a beer distributor, which he owned for forty years.  Locally Durrill was a well-liked philanthropist, recognized for his beneficiant donations totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars to varied charities and faculties.

In 1988 Durrill and Bennett registered the corporate Courthouse Options, Inc., in preparations to switch the constructing from Bennett to Durrill.  In line with the THC, Courthouse Options assumed possession of the deed in 1991.  The next yr the deed was then transferred to Justice Constructing, Inc., one other Durrill-owned company which bought the constructing for about $300,000 in back-taxes.

Corpus Christi philanthropist William "Dusty" Durrill bought the courthouse in 1992 and returned it to the county in 2000.Corpus Christi philanthropist William “Dusty” Durrill bought the courthouse in 1992 and returned it to the county in 2000. (supply)

Durrill employed grant writers to use for state cash to save lots of the constructing, together with making use of for a $10.9 million grant from the Texas Division of Transportation to show the previous courthouse right into a Transportation Historical past Museum and Metropolis Customer Middle.  Further restoration concepts have been floated for the constructing, together with a Tejano Music Corridor of Fame and a campus for Texas A&M College-Corpus Christi.

Durrill lacked the cash to conduct a full restoration of the constructing, nevertheless he did take steps to cease the deterioration, clear the grounds, set up spotlights, restore utilities, and shield the constructing from vandalism.

Within the early 1990s the 1961 annex on the northeast nook of the lot was demolished by the Nationwide Guard.  As a result of it was a later addition and didn’t contribute to the design or historic standing, supporters had lobbied for state Historic Courthouse Preservation Program funds and arranged matching-grant campaigns and even an “Annex Asbestos Angels” marketing campaign to fund demolition of the 1961 annex.  One metropolis council member steered providing the remainder of the courthouse to a Hollywood studio to explode for an motion film.

Associates founder and longtime Caller-Occasions contributor Margaret Ramage pushed for the addition of the courthouse on the record of Texas’ Most Endangered Historic Properties in 1995.  Ramage additionally unveiled a brand new Historic Marker for the courthouse in entrance of a small crowd with cameras.

In 1998 the courthouse was included on the Nationwide Belief for Historic Preservation’s listing of the “Nation’s 11 Most Endangered Places,” whereas a Wants Evaluation and Restoration Research was undertaken by Killis Almond Architects.  The research demonstrated the 1914 courthouse might be technically and bodily restored at a price of $13.6 million.  The report talked about “differential foundation movement,” and famous that the west finish of the 1930 addition had settled roughly two inches on the time of their investigation.

*

Nueces Courthouse 2000s: Again to the County

The deteriorating façade of the 1914 courthouse as it appeared in 2000.The deteriorating façade of the 1914 courthouse because it appeared in 2000. (supply)

On the flip of the century a brand new state program provided a lifeline to the previous courthouse.  The Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program (THCPP), created in June of 1999, was initially endowed with $50 million to be issued throughout two rounds of grants in 2000 and 2001.

Officers needed to benefit from this courthouse-specific program, nevertheless for the courthouse to qualify Nueces County must maintain the deed.  On January fifth, 2000, Nueces County Commissioners voted to foreclose on Justice Constructing in order to reclaim and renovate the courthouse, which by this time owed the county “more than $740,000 in back taxes accumulated since the late 1970s.” Complicating issues was the truth that the town of Corpus Christi, Del Mar School, and the Corpus Christi Unbiased Faculty District every had claims to the again taxes, which might additionally should be relinquished earlier than the method might start.

The county labored out a deal to accumulate the property again from Durrill and fulfill every of the events to the tax lien.  Native architects McGloin and Sween have been employed to supply the Nueces County Courthouse Preservation Grasp Plan.  This was a pre-requisite for grant purposes and provided an in depth breakdown of the work required to protect and restore the 1914 courthouse.

Their first award got here in October of 2000 by means of a $333,401 Emergency Planning Grant, provided to the 1914 Nueces County Courthouse by the THCPP throughout its second spherical of grants.  The grant got here with necessities, reminiscent of that the county keep the property and observe a 25-year preservation easement to be held by the THC.

The courtrooms in the former Nueces County Courthouse building have been vandalized, as seen in this 2004 photograph.The courtrooms in the previous Nueces County Courthouse constructing have been vandalized, as seen in this 2004 photograph. (supply)

Mixed with further funds and easements the courthouse would earn two years later, the ultimate easement expiration was set to be September 1st, 2027.

In 2002 the THCPP awarded the 1914 Nueces County Courthouse $1.9 million for the Part I rehabilitation of the South Wing.  Part I restoration concerned the waterproofing of the constructing and repairing the terra-cotta, brick, and different architectural particulars.

The plans for the restoration have been drawn up by McGloin & Sween, with the aim to show the constructing right into a $20 million-dollar science and know-how museum.

Last approval got here from the THC in the autumn of 2003.

*

South Wing Renovation: 2004-2006

A second grant software was submitted in 2004 for $three.eight million to hold out the rest of the Part I restoration for the south wing.  The emergency grant consisted of $1.9 million in state funds plus $883,000 in matching funds (a 2:1 match was a requirement for THCPP emergency grants).  Buddies of the Courthouse president Margaret Walberg raised the $900okay in native donations for the match, which triggered the $1.9 million and allowed renovation to proceed.

From 2004 till 2006 the south wing of the courthouse acquired a serious facelift.  Masonry was torn right down to the concrete body, a fiberglass reinforcing membrane and hurricane home windows have been put in, and chrome steel wall ties have been used for the brick veneer and outrigger cornice helps.

pictures courtesy Robert Parks

New Caryatid pillars have been put in on both aspect of the south entrance.

Nueces County Courthouse south entrance caryatid pillars, before (2004) and after (2006) renovation. Nueces County Courthouse south entrance Caryatid pillars, earlier than (2004) and after (2006) renovation. (courtesy Robert Parks)

Greater than 2,300 new items of decorative terra cotta have been put in over a strengthened mounting system.  Crews left the inside alone apart from hazardous materials abatement (observe: South wing solely) and set up of a safety system.

The Part I renovation was accomplished on November 27th, 2006.  Last value was $2.7 million, multiple million dollars beneath finances.

The freshly refurbished south wing of the 1914 Nueces County Courthouse as it appeared in late 2006.The freshly refurbished south wing of the 1914 Nueces County Courthouse because it appeared in late 2006. (supply)

*

Nueces Courthouse Late Aughts: Reversion to the Imply

Since 1995 County Commissioner Richard Borchard had been a worthwhile ally, a supportive voice in a place of authority who had completed a lot to facilitate courthouse grants through the years.  Such help got here to an finish in 2003, when Borchard left workplace and the county “partially reverted to its earlier wariness” with the courthouse.

In October of 2004 the Texas Historic Fee provided a second main development grant of $1,766,599 as a “supplemental award” for partial exterior restoration of the East Wing.  Nevertheless the extra funds have been rejected in August of 2005 at a gathering of the Nueces County Commissioners who did not second a movement to simply accept the matching grant from the THC.

The butterfly impact of this budgetary coverage change was the demise of the deliberate $34.8M South Texas Exploratorium, the continued Sween-McGloin undertaking on the courthouse since 2004.

The $35M South Texas Exploratorium project failed to receive support from county commissioners in 2005.The $35M South Texas Exploratorium undertaking did not obtain help from Nueces County commissioners in 2005. (supply)

*

Nueces Courthouse 2010s: Menace of Demolition Returns

In 2010 LNV Engineers was commissioned to carry out an engineering research of the construction.  The report discovered “significant evidence of differential movement of the foundation systems.”  The LNV report additionally famous the west finish of the 1930 addition has settled a complete of 4 inches (a further two inches because the 1998 Killis Almond investigation), and that “approximately 60%-80% of the concrete framing members do not have adequate capacity to withstand the loads required by current adopted design codes.”

Evidence of differential movement in the foundation system as described in the LNV Report, found in the 1914 Nueces County Courthouse.Proof of differential motion in the inspiration system as described in the LNV Report, discovered in the 1914 Nueces County Courthouse.

One sentence in the report notably stood out:

“Restoration and/or rehabilitation of this structure would be a major undertaking both financially and construction wise.”

LNV estimated the structural repairs alone might strategy $24 million, whereas demolition would value nearer to $three million.  Contemplating the report’s said margin of error, potential full renovation prices might strategy $58 million.  This prompted county commissioners to re-negotiate with the THC to carry the deed restriction defending the constructing.  Remarked one county commissioner, “we can either try to move forward or stand here for the next 15 years and watch the building crumble brick by brick.”

The Corpus Christi Metropolis Council, bolstered by its success in lately getting Memorial Coliseum demolished in June of 2010, voted unanimously to additionally again efforts to demolish the previous courthouse.  Stated one metropolis council member “Would we miss the structure? Yes, but it’s time to move on.”

“We’re having a hard enough time as it is not raising your taxes and still fixing all the things that we want to fix for people to have an accessible community. We don’t have $40 million dollars lying around to fix a building.”

– Commissioner Brent Chesney, Nueces County

pictures circa 2006, courtesy Robert Parks

In mild of the outcomes of the LNV research, county commissioner Mike Pusley started a county-wide effort to boost help to demolish the 1914 courthouse.  In 2011 each the Corpus Christi Metropolis Council and the Nueces County Commissioners handed resolutions supporting the trigger.  Neither have been sufficient to override the deed covenant owned by the THC, which had by this time made recognized they might sue if essential to implement the 1978 preservation covenant.

What this doubtless means is the 1914 Nueces County Courthouse will stay in its place on the nook of Belden and North Mesquite Road till a minimum of September of 2027.

*

What Occurs till 2027?

A damaged Nueces County Empress in 2015.A broken Nueces County Empress in 2015. (courtesy Carson Crisp)

With demolition out of the playing cards county officers determined to resume restoration talks.  These talks can be restricted to only that–when the county reached out to the town for help in September of 2014, the town gave its blessing however stated “Don’t come asking for money anytime soon.”

Nevertheless the courthouse does qualify for the current Texas Historic Preservation Tax Incentive program, carried out in January of 2015, which credit twenty-five % of rehabilitation prices towards the restore of buildings listed on the Nationwide Register.

In 2015 Nueces County data indicated $15,000 was spent to take care of and safe the 1914 courthouse.  Regardless of the county’s efforts, homeless and vandals proceed to seek out methods inside.  In June of 2015 the hearth division believed a fireplace began in the courthouse was arson.

The 1914 courthouse is fenced and has NO TRESPASSING signs.The 1914 courthouse is fenced and has “NO TRESPASSING” indicators. (courtesy Carson Crisp)

As of 2017, the constructing stays fenced off with conspicuous “No Trespassing” indicators on show.  Based on public works director Glen Sullivan, about $three,000 is spent on upkeep and safety for the property.

The grass is mowed and repairs are made to fencing regularly.  The doorways and (most) home windows are boarded.  There’s an alarm system, though its performance is questionable after years of publicity.

The Texas Historic Fee developed the City Sq. Initiative (TSI) “to provide specialized technical assistance for vacant and underutilized historic properties in communities that have already demonstrated a substantial commitment to historic preservation.”  The TSI took an curiosity in the previous Nueces County Courthouse and in January of 2016 produced a re-utilization report, which recognized the courthouse as a very good candidate for conversion right into a 62-unit luxurious residential tower with 15,000 square-feet of economic area.  It famous a brand new estimated development value of $53.5 million and pointed to an $eight.7 million-dollar funding hole (see under) that must come from a personal investor.

That quantity by the best way, solely grows the farther out any redevelopment is pushed.

In 2016 the Town Square Initiative produced a report which broke down the estimated cost to rehabilitate the 1914 courthouse.In 2016 the City Sq. Initiative produced a report which broke down the estimated value to rehabilitate the 1914 courthouse. (supply)

*

[ Cycle of Life:  In April of 2016 a reader-submitted article appeared in the Caller-Occasions noting the ‘new’ courthouse is already “outdated and falling apart.”  A juror reported a poor expertise after her go to:  “I made a quick stop in the ladies room.  It looked like stepping back into 1975, complete with orange restroom doors; worn-out, rusted fixtures; partitions with holes from previous hanging dispensers, etc.  The soap dispenser that should have been hanging on the wall near the sinks for hand-washing was completely torn off the wall and sitting on the counter top, with no bag of soap in sight.  I don’t think it had just happened that day.”  Time to construct a brand new courthouse? ]

*

A New Hope

In September of 2016 county commissioners handed two resolutions for the 1914 courthouse.  First the county rescinded its 2011 decision to demolish the constructing.  Second, the county handed the movement to listing the courthouse on the market.  Throughout an October assembly the courtroom permitted an asking worth of $800,000.  This might be in addition to the $1.5 million owed in again taxes, leaving consumers with a complete worth of $2.three million to accumulate the constructing.

“Someone may come in and offer less,” Commissioner Mike Pusley stated. “If we get a decent offer, they’ll be getting a courthouse. We had to start somewhere.”  Consumers will discover the fallen terra cotta and brick façade parts which were collected through the years are saved in the basement.

For Sale flyer for the 1914 Nueces County Courthouse.Adame & Associates Itemizing flyer for the 1914 Nueces County Courthouse.

Actual property company Joe Adame & Associates, Inc. was tasked to deal with the itemizing of the 1914 courthouse (view on-line advert).

“Redevelopment Opportunity – Former Nueces County Courthouse. Built in 1914, 1930 addition, the building consists of a six story structure which includes a basement level. The building structure consists of reinforced concrete columns & beam framing. Exterior walls are clad with structural clay tile infill walls with a brick mason veneer & terra cotta coping and fascia. Buyer shall be responsible for roughly $1.5M in owed back ad valorem taxes. All buyers considered must demonstrate significant successful expertise with historic renovation projects similar in size and scope. Full property condition report available upon request.  Zoned CI – Intense Commercial District”

In October of 2016 the THC gave its blessing to the TSI report’s suggestion to transform the constructing into luxurious flats.

Then in December of 2016, for the primary time in greater than a era, Nueces County acquired a bid for the constructing.  In January of 2017 the Nueces County Commissioners voted unanimously to enter into negotiations with the Nueces County Courthouse Improvement Companions, LLC, (NCCDP) to develop a purchase order settlement that may “enable them to purchase and restore the 1914 county courthouse.”

In February of 2017, 3News revealed the corporate stepping in to provide the courthouse a facelift was Coon Restoration and Sealants out of Ohio.  Venture supervisor Jim McCue stated the corporate has an extended historical past of preserving previous buildings from the wrecking ball.  “You don’t go into a project like this just hoping for the best. We do our homework very carefully.”

The lads behind NCCDP are Fort Value-based financier Steve Goodman and contractor Jim McCue of Coon Restoration and Sealants, Inc. and Sandvick Architects, Inc.  McCue first found the Nueces courthouse when his daughter, who works in close by Port Aransas, despatched him a photograph of the previous constructing and requested if he might reserve it.

Vine growth dominated the north side of the 1914 Nueces County courthouse in 2015. Vine progress dominates the north aspect of the 1914 Nueces County courthouse in 2015. (courtesy Carson Crisp)

In April of 2017 Commissioner Pusley revealed the promoting worth to NCCDP was $1,000, nevertheless he famous the acquisition settlement requires the consumers pay $1.5 million in accrued back-taxes as properly.

Pusley is sanguine on the deal’s prospects:  “This is sort of like Halley’s comet. It’s only going to come by once in our lifetime, and hopefully we get to see it.”  Progress should wait till the deal closes, which commissioner Pusley expects to finalize in the summer time of 2017.

As for the event workforce, they’ve already begun working with metropolis planners.  Challenge Supervisor Jim McCue estimates the challenge might take two years to finish. “We’re excited on all different levels.  The courthouse is in the heart of downtown, and to reclaim that area and make it a focal point is exciting to us.  Corpus Christi is on the threshold of revitalization and we’re very excited to be a part of it.” 

Rear of the 1914 Nueces County Courthouse building as seen from 181 ramp. On left is the 1930 addition, on right is the South Wing with its newer 2006 update.Rear of the 1914 Nueces County Courthouse constructing as seen from 181 ramp.  On the left is the 1930 addition; on the suitable is the South Wing with its newer 2006 replace. (courtesy Google Streetview, April 2016)

*

Constructing Situation

Spalling in the 1914 Nueces County Courthouse ceiling as photographed in 2006. Spalling in the 1914 Nueces County Courthouse in 2006. (courtesy Robert Parks)

Deterioration of an deserted constructing shouldn’t be linear, however somewhat progresses on an exponential scale.  As constructing supplies fatigue and their integrity fails, it creates a cascading impact that quickly accelerates different failures.  If corrosion is concerned that is amplified.

The 2010 LNV report illustrates this level with the next description:

“Because of the salt in the air the natural deterioration process is accelerated.  A small crack in a concrete member will allow moisture to penetrate to the reinforcing steel, allowing corrosion to begin.  As the steel reinforcing corrodes, it expands in volume, causing larger cracks to form in the concrete, which eventually result in portions of the concrete becoming displaced or breaking loose completely, also known as spalling.”

The report additionally stated there’s “visible evidence of differential settlement between the exterior entry stairs and the north and east wings,” and that “almost all the [metal corrugated] ties have corroded away and no longer provide support to the brick… Broken windows have allowed rain and humidity to infiltrate the building envelope.  The roofing material is in very poor condition and the concrete roof slab is completely exposed in several places.”

A ramp in Corpus Christi, Texas, takes pedestrians within fifty feet of the courthouse's south entrance. A ramp in Corpus Christi, Texas, takes pedestrians inside fifty ft of the courthouse’s south entrance. (supply)

Not in contrast to collector automobiles, unique historic buildings are probably the most fascinating.  Within the case of the 1914 Nueces County Courthouse, its worth has been challenged by its many alterations through the years.

Ceilings have been lowered, partitions have been eliminated and new partitions added.  Home windows have been coated up and louvered doorways boarded over whereas different doorways have been sealed and new holes minimize by way of partitions.  One set of stairs results in a brick wall that when contained a door now way back eliminated, and for what purpose no one might recall.  And naturally there was that annex.

The final forty years haven’t been glamorous for the 1914 Nueces County Courthouse, however it stays a part of the material of Corpus Christi, a logo of its transition from city to metropolis.  It has watched passersby in the whole lot from horse and buggy to Ford Mannequin T’s to hybrid Toyotas.  The Nueces Courthouse was standing when the town constructed Memorial Coliseum, and it was there when the town demolished Memorial Coliseum.  It watched because the Corpus Christi Harbor Bridge was constructed, and it’ll possible be watching in the approaching years when the bridge comes again down.

Few buildings in Corpus Christi can boast such a powerful resume.  Coincidentally, the rest may be discovered down the road in the Heritage Park District.

In 2017 the courthouse lives behind a barbwire fence.At the moment the courthouse lives behind a barbed wire fence. (courtesy Carson Crisp)

**

The place are they now?

Upper level landing in the old Nueces County Courthouse, circa 2006.Higher degree touchdown in the previous Nueces County Courthouse, circa 2006. (courtesy Robert Parks)

The talk over the courthouse has dragged on for therefore lengthy, a lot of the unique forged in this story at the moment are deceased.  The Associates of the Courthouse final filed a tax return in 2001 – though data present its members have been concerned with the courthouse as current as 2004.

Associates of the Courthouse founder and former THC official Cecil Burney, chargeable for getting the courthouse added to the Nationwide Register in 1976, died in June of 1989.   Pals founder Margaret Ramage, chargeable for the location’s historic marker, handed away in Might of 2000.   Their Buddies compatriot Margaret Walberg handed away in January of 2015.

County Decide Robert Barnes, who oversaw the transfer out of the previous courthouse, died in March of 2007.  J.P. Luby, the previous commissioner apprehensive the courthouse could possibly be became a Go-Go membership, died in June 2012.  Philanthropist, courthouse benefactor, and former proprietor Dusty Durrill died in April of 2016.  Sween-McGloin of the Texas Exploratorium proposal re-located to California, and now works for the Public Works Division of Santa Monica.

One long-time critic of the 1914 courthouse constructing continues to be round:  Caller-Occasions columnist Nick Jimenez was the newspaper’s entrance strains through the courthouse transition in the late 1970s.  He’s the one that notably referred to the courthouse as “the most terrible building I’ve ever been in.”

Forty years later Jimenez continues to be composing for the Caller-Occasions and the courthouse continues to be decomposing on Mesquite Road.

Some issues don’t change.

2006 inside photographs courtesy Robert Parks

(courtesy Carson Crisp)

***

Recent Comments

    Categories