Dallas Pioneer Park Cemetery Monument Pages


Dallas' First County Courthouse-1857


Dallas County Courthouse-1885


Dallas' Beloved "Old Red" County Courthouse-1892

Dallas' County Courthouses

Dallas County has been served by a total of atleast six courthouses in its history. John Neely Bryan donated a block of land for the courthouse square when Dallas became the County Seat in April 1846 on which a 10' x 10' foot log courthouse was erected. In 1855, James Martin Patterson, John J. Good & William Wallace Peak designed the county's first real courthouse, which was in use until 1871. It and the succeeding courthouse were both destroyed by fires. After the 1890 fire destroyed the Dallas county courthouse in use at that time, construction began on a new one which has survived to the present day. When it opened in 1892, what would become Dallas County's sixth (the fifth building to occupy the courthouse site) and most beloved courthouse was adorned with a tower containing a clock and a three-ton bell. The tower was dismantled after World War I because of fears of structural damage from the vibrations of the bell. The courthouse has been undergoing a massive restoration & renovation project for several years. Restoration of the original tower design with a re-engineering of the tower base to support the massive 90 foot clock tower has recently gotten underway. The clockwork of the tower rivaled that of England's Big Ben in quality, but was removed in 1919 when prevailing high winds threatened its stability.

Voters defeated an initiative to demolish Old Red and replace it with a modern building in 1938. Through the next fifty years, Old Red served a variety of public functions, but the demands of efficiency caused countless remodelings and adaptations of space use. Old Red is now a tourist attraction. The remodeling effort that is currently underway restores Old Red to its previous glory of years past. Other courthouse buildings located in the downtown area now serve Dallas County's judicial system.

Content drawn from sources Dallas Historical Society, Dallas Pioneer Association & Old Red Foundation websites

Project Designer: Julia D. Quinteros de Hernandez
September 1, 2006