Like a jigsaw puzzle, the answer to a mystery may lie in a small piece in someone’s backyard or the recesses of someone’s memory.
For those of you who are new to Blanco, the Old Blanco County Courthouse is the magnificent limestone structure proudly located on Blanco’s town square. Built 128 years ago, it is a splendid example of Second Empire Style architecture designed by renowned architect F.E. Ruffini. When it was discovered in 1985 that the town’s most significant historic building had been sold and was to be moved to a local ranch, concerned citizens came together and founded the Old Blanco County Courthouse Preservation Society (OBCCPS), to repurchase and restore the historic building.
In an ongoing effort to fulfill their mission, OBCCPS is considering future projects. One such project is the restoration of the “cresting.” Cresting refers to the ornamental ironwork which typically adorned buildings of the late 19th century. The late Roy Byars was quoted as saying that he could remember playing on the cresting in the attic of the Old Courthouse as a boy. During the time when the Old Courthouse was the Museum of the Early West (1971-73), the cresting was moved from the attic and used on the grounds. The late Bernice West thought she had a piece of the cresting someone had given her, but efforts by her family to locate the piece have not been fruitful.
OBCCPS is seeking the help of local citizens. The original ironwork has no practical use, but seeing a piece would help OBCCPS with the restoration effort. Photographs of any remaining bits and pieces could be used by contemporary craftsmen to reproduce the missing elements. As the number of our older citizens who might have helpful information continues to dwindle, the project has increased in urgency. Anyone who has any memory of what became of the cresting pieces or might have helpful information is urged to call OBCCPS at 830-833-2211.
OBCCPS’ annual meeting is Thursday, March 14, in the old courtroom, with social time starting at 6:30. All are welcome to learn about and to join the effort to fully restore Blanco’s magnificent centerpiece.