Comal County Restoration Update

February 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

Work on the $8.6 million restoration of the Romanesque Revival Comal County Courthouse in New Braunfels, designed by J. Riely Gordon (who also designed the Gonzales, Fayette and Lee county courthouses included in Central Texas), is shifting from demolishing to rebuilding the 1898 structure.

The three 20th-century additions that had obscured its victorian-era beauty have been torn off and hauled away by the general contractor. As demolition crews inside finish removing structurally unsound walls and floors, other workers are building new floors, scraping paint and installing ductwork. A new foundation has been added, which required excavating a basement.

The restoration has included replication of original floor tiles and courtroom chairs and plugging a well discovered almost directly beneath the jail cells that were added to the building in 1930.

Among the artifacts unearthed by excavation of the basement, according to an article in the San Antonio Express-News, were a tire from a Ford Model A and a stone chisel whose blade matches the cuttings on the building’s original limestone blocks

Local support of the restoration is strong; recently the owners of Pat’s Place, a local restaurant, donated a window from one of the building’s original doors, bearing the words, “Comal County Courthouse,” which they had purchased at an antique store in the 1970s and displayed in the restaurant. In return, the county will give the restaurant owners a newer window from the same doorway.

An interior balcony in the second-floor courtroom that was removed decades ago will be reinstalled. Limestone blocks that made up the demolished wings will be reused to patch the gaps created by their removal. So, the restored courthouse will basically look like it did when built, but will have modern features, such as security alarms, air conditioning and an elevator.

The restoration is supposed to be finished by July 31, but given the project’s complexity, that deadline may not be met.

You can read the complete article and see a photo gallery of the restoration at


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