East Texas Quarterly Magazine Spring 2014 - Page 18

Visit Historic Shelby County Margaret Wilson and Jesse Amason donated the townsite in 1856 or 1857. In an 1866 election Center became the county seat, in one of Texas’ county seat disputes. In August 1866 the county records were stolen and brought to Center, putting an end to the dispute. A post office opened there the same year - further cementing the permanence of seat of county government. The courthouse and matching (former) jail make Center an East Texas weekend destination in itself. The spacious square shows the two buildings to their best advantage, however there’s more. Right in the In 1882 the courthouse burned. It was replaced by the current courthouse which is usually regarded as one of the handsomest in Texas . The 1885 Romanesque Revival courthouse is worth driving out of the way to see. Inspired by the castles in his native Ireland, architect John Gibson also included a fenced cupola in this handsome and unusual brick building. Top: the Historic Shelby County Courthouse in Center, Texas. Bottom; The Woodman of the World parade on the Center Square in 1903. 16 East Texas Quarterly