Wilde About Texas: Blanco courthouse has eclectic history
By: Russell Wilde - 01/26/2011

The Old Blanco County Courthouse manager Lesley Griffin says the 125-year-old building is more a community center than a courthouse.

“The building was built in 1885, but it was only used as a courthouse for four years," she said.

After county lines were redrawn in 1889, the county seat moved north to Johnson City and a few years later a courthouse was built there. In Blanco, the old courthouse has served many purposes. It’s been a school, a barbecue joint and even a hospital. As the old building approached its centennial, there was renewed interest in saving it after it was sold.

“When the man bought it as it was going to move, we didn’t want a big hole in our town. A group of people got together saying, 'We can’t let this beautiful old building just be gone,'" Griffin said.

Headed by the Old Blanco County Courthouse Preservation Society, renovations and improvements have continued to ensure the iconic building remains the center of town.

Business owner Elizabeth Waller-Broyal says the courthouse square is the heart of the town.

“It’s our little downtown community. It’s the place to be," she said.

Waller-Broyal's store, called On the Square, has been on the square for more than a decade. She says Blanco attracts everyone from cowboys to Harley riders.

“Blanco’s a great spot for you to ride to. We’re right in the middle of the Hill Country,” Waller-Broyal said.

The scenic spot has also attracted Hollywood. The old courthouse makes an appearance in Oscar-nominated "True Grit."

“We were all thrilled when they filmed 'True Grit.' It was exciting. Our town’s never seen anything like that," Griffin said.

Now that Hollywood’s lights are fading, the old building is returning to its role as a gathering place.

“It’s kind of like the meeting place in Blanco. Everyone knows where the courthouse is," Griffin said.

Video Courtesy of YNN



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