Polk County Courthouse on Endangered List
Although it’s nowhere near as old as many public buildings, the Texas Historical Commission says the Polk County Courthouse in Livingston is one of the most endangered courthouses in the state. The THC says unless it gets major work soon, the building will have to be demolished.
THC historians say the 1924 building is in sad and dangerous condition. It has a leaky roof, deteriorating windows, old and inadequate electrical wiring and plumbing, groundwater seepage in the basement, no modern fire detection systems, and stone roof balusters are loose and falling off.
THC also points to what it calls “unsympathetic renovations” that have done much to take away the building’s historic appearance.
THC says building the new Polk County Judicial Center across the street has put the old courthouse at even greater risk. They say based on their experience, when counties build new courthouses, their old courthouses are allowed to decay and go to seed, and sadly, that’s what’s happening in Livingston.
Texas does more than most states to preserve its historic courthouses. Through its Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program, the THC provides partial matching grants to Texas counties for the restoration of their historic county courthouses.
They haven’t been able to save all of them, but they’ve helped save a lot of them. Texas is known nationwide for its beautiful 19th century courthouses that attract thousands of tourists to the state every year.