The Old Red Courthouse in Dallas County may soon be used as a courthouse again if a feasibility study being conducted is positive.
“Ensuring that “Old Red” has a use and a future is a top priority for Dallas County,” assistant county administrator Jonathon Bazan told The Texan.
The study will determine what would be required to move the Court of Appeals, Fifth District of Texas into the historical building. The Court of Appeals was chosen for the study because it is a state court and thus functions independently of any county departments and courts.
The study is expected to take about six months and will cost about $46,000. Results will include a concept design, floor plans, cost estimates, and a timeline for completion.
“We are excited to share the results of the study with the public,” Bazan said.
“Old Red,” as it is locally known, is a beautiful Romanesque building in the heart of downtown Dallas. It was originally built in 1892 and contained six courtrooms. It mostly held civil trials. When the George Allen Sr. Courts Building was completed in 1966, “Old Red” was relegated to holding a few county offices until the 1980s.
The Old Red Courthouse is a State Antiquities Landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Old Red Museum of Dallas County History opened there in 2007 and will occupy the space through 2021.
“Old Red” was the sixth courthouse in Dallas County and the first one built to be fireproof, according to museum director Evelyn Montgomery. The floors are ceramic, and it is built from red sandstone and blue granite. The 205-foot-high clock tower, which had been missing from “Old Red” since 1919, was completed in 2007.
The county recently invested considerable funding in cleaning and restoring the exterior and roof of “Old Red.” Now the focus will move to the interior.
One infamous event associated with “Old Red” was the lynching of Allen Brooks, who was pushed out of a window in the courthouse and lynched in downtown Dallas in 1910.
Kim Roberts is a reporter for the Texan in the DFW metroplex area where she has lived for over twenty years. She has a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School and a Bachelor's in government from Angelo State University. In her free time, Kim home schools her daughter and coaches high school extemporaneous speaking and apologetics. She has been happily married to her husband for 23 years, has three wonderful children, and two dogs.