On May 19, eight members of the Mason Bluebonnet Study Club met at 9:30 a.m. in the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church parking lot and carpooled to the historic Llano County Courthouse to learn more about the history of our part of Texas.
Sarah Franklin, a member of the Courthouse Rededication Committee, served as tour guide as well as providing an oral history of the beautiful old building to the group. Ms. Franklin related that the original courthouse which was built in 1865 was completely destroyed by fire on January 22, 1892. A new courthouse was built at a cost of $47,438.43 and completed August 1, 1893, and although plagued by three fires has withstood the ravages of time. The last fire in 1952 did so much damage that there were those in the community who considered demolishing the old building, but according to Ms. Franklin, cooler heads prevailed and repairs to restore the original beauty were undertaken.
During a walking tour of the courthouse, club members noted the beauty of the wooden doorcasing and the original metal ceilings. Other areas showing the original lustrous wood included wainscotting on many of the walls, stairways with ornamental newal posts and balistrades. The stairway steps are made of iron. Very tall windows with gracefully curved tops gave light to each room.
During the tour, the Llano County judge interrupted a meeting to greet the group and to show them the impressive law library located in a large vault. Iron shutters on the only window in the room can be closed to make the room safe. The judge said that the door lock had been disengaged so that it would not accidentally close and lock in those attending meetings within.
The beautiful old building is three stories high. The exterior is buff colored sand brick with polished granite columns on marble bases at entrances on all four sides. It has a large rectangular center section with three corner pavilions and a corner clock tower on the northeast side.
Following the tour, members had a delicious lunch with the tour guide at the Acme Dry Goods on the square, then some went shopping and antique searching while others were ready to call it a day and head back to Mason.
Members who made the trip were Maudi Bergmann, Mary Ellen Merkel, Mary Hemphill, Mary Carlman, Julia Pepper, Brinda Pape, Tommie Luckenbach, and Betty Meyer.
The Mason Bluebonnet Study Club is 66 years old and is a member of the Alamo District of Texas Federation of Women’s Clubs which is a part of the international organization General Federation of Women’s Clubs headquartered in Washington, DC.
(pictured: front left to right; tour guide Sarah Franklin, Betty Meyer, Maudi Bergmann, Mary Hemphill, Brinda Pape, and Julia Pepper. Back row; Mary Ellen Merkel, Mary Carlman, and Tommie Luckenbach.)