Milam courthouse restored to 1892 glory

This is the 10th in a series on the Milam County Courthouse and its people.

After 107 years of existence and many revisions that covered doors, partitioned office space, closed the district courtroom balcony and removed one set of stairs, the grand old building underwent restoration.

The company which supplied floor tile in 1892 found in the first and second f loors of the building, had sold the business to a British firm.

That company was located and one of their representatives visited Cameron to discuss furnishing similar tile for the restoration.

Details were worked out so the same pattern of tile was purchased and installed in offices which once had tile floors.

Three massive 12-foot foot doors for the District Court Room were uncovered. These doors were raised, similar to the old windows, with weights.

After much consideration, and the help of a Cameron man who is skilled in overhead doors, the doors were repaired and now operate as they did in the original courthouse.

The balcony was restored. Even though it is not open to the public, it can be toured with permission.

Metal stairs were installed on the west side of the main floor lobby. A new elevator was installed in that same area. Architects and craftsmen worked diligently to deal with an underground spring which kept filling the deep cavity of the elevator base.

The elevator assists those needing help getting to the third floor and balcony area.

Original wooden floors were of long leaf pine. This lumber no longer exists, except for rare finds removed from other structures built during the late 1800 and early 1900’s. Luckily, enough of this lumber was donated from an 1864 building in the Round Rock area.

As the building was undergoing restoration work, the county received a phone call from a reporter in a neighboring county. He was doing a story on the restoration and wanted to know why restore such an old building.

“Why not tear it down and replace it with a modern structure?” he asked.

The reply:

“How much do you know about Texas history and more expressly, how much do you know about the people (your family) who brought you to Texas?”

He didn’t know how his family tied into a restoration?

The answer: “This courthouse is a legacy for Milam County and all of Texas. It will be here to serve the county and teach those young aspiring citizens of the grandeur of courthouses.”

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