Monday, June 2, 2014

Washita County Courthouse

The historic Washita County Courthouse with its imposing dome sits square in the middle of downtown Cordell, Oklahoma. Its windows and doors have currently been removed, allowing a clear view through the building. This view from the east shows that scaffolding is installed on the building's west and south sides.
Washita County Courthouse Undergoes Major Remodel

     Tillman County's neighbor two counties to the north, Washita County, is currently undertaking a total remodel/restoration of its historic courthouse. The unique courthouse is located in Cordell, approximately 65 miles north of Frederick, and sits on a distinctive courthouse square in the middle of downtown.

View from the southwest... scaffolding covers the building's south and west sides.
     The Washita County Courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was designed in 1910 by Soloman Andrew Layton and completed in 1911, and has been called the "Grandfather of Oklahoma's Courthouses." Layton later served as architect for the State Capitol Building in Oklahoma City.

     The courthouse's unique dome underwent a restoration in 2012.

     The striking photos on this page were taken on Tuesday, May 27, and show the historic courthouse in its present state of restoration. Windows and doors have been removed and the building appears to be almost gutted inside. Exterior steps on the east and west sides have been removed and scaffolding has been erected for work on the exterior brick.

     An April 15 item in the Cordell Beacon notes that it was necessary to remove windows so that new self-leveling floors could be poured.

Windows and doors have been removed. Interior work is extensive.

An interesting note about Washita County history...

     The area that is Washita County was opened by land run on April 19, 1892, more than nine years before most of the area that is Tillman County was opened by land lottery on August 1, 1901.

     The first Oklahoma Territory county seat for Washita County was Cloud Chief.

     Today, many of us know Cloud Chief as a tiny, out-of-the-way town just off of Highway 54 in southeastern Washita County.

     On August 7, 1900, an election was held in which Washita County voters approved the move of the county seat from Cloud Chief to Cordell. The U.S. Supreme Court voided the election, though, because the U.S. Congress had designated Cloud Chief as the county seat. In 1906, Congress officially named Cordell as the county seat.

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