Historic Tarrant Courthouse to Get Facelift

Old building with clock on top in need of repair, administrators say

By Scott Gordon
|  Friday, Jul 10, 2009  |  Updated 7:57 AM CDT
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Historic Tarrant Courthouse to Get Facelift

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The Tarrant County Courthouse in downtown Fort Worth was constructed in 1893. The building has red granite walls and a four-faced Seth Thomas clock in the tower.

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Historic Tarrant Courthouse to Get Facelift

An original piece of Fort Worth's history is getting a $2 million renovation.
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The historic Tarrant County Courthouse, including the iconic clock tower on top, is set to receive a $2 million facelift.

County administrators were already taking bids for a smaller version of the project when a heavy piece of metal from the tower fell onto a lower roof. Commissioners then decided to spend more to make repairs on the entire building, said David Phillips, Tarrant County’s director of facilities.

"The foundation of the building is in great shape,” Phillips said. “It has not moved and it'll be here a long, long time."

The clock still works fine, and the bell rings every hour.

But the tower housing the clock is basically falling apart. The dome has leaked for years, and the mortar has fallen out around the bricks, Phillips said.

The building, which is on a hill overlooking North Main Street and the historic Stockyards district, was built in the early 1890s.

The original shingle roof was replaced with copper in the 1920s, Phillips said.

The facelift will include a new copper roof.

“It’s going to (look like) a shiny penny,” Phillips said.

Construction is set to begin later this year.

Budgets are tight, but commissioners said the need for repairs is urgent, and they will find the $2 million.

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