Comal County Courthouse Rededication!

Posted by on Jan 22, 2013 in Current Projects, Journal

Rededication of the Comal County Courthouse
January 22, 2013

January 22, 2013 marks the 114th anniversary of the Comal County Courthouse, and the day that we celebrate the completion of a restoration 10 years in the making.  We were first hired by Comal County in 2003 to study whether or not the County should restore or repair the historic courthouse.  Financial, functional, programmatic, and political concerns were all in play as the final decision was made to restore the courthouse to its 1899 appearance.

The building had undergone several renovations over the years, including a few changes that had not received support from the Texas Historical Commission.  The removal of these later additions made the project very attractive for grant funding from the THC.  Even so, the project did not receive funding the first time it applied, and the project was tabled for 2 years.  THC awarded a grant of $3.4 million in Round VI of the program, and the County put forth more than 5.3 million to complete the work.

The restoration was completed by RBR Construction, Inc., of Weatherford, Texas.  They pulled some of the best talent from around the State to complete the specialized masonry, carpentry, building systems, and finish work required in the project.

Some of my favorite aspects of the finished product include the encaustic and geometric tile floor restoration at the entry porches and main corridors and the reproduction of the original wallpaper frieze in the District Courtroom.  The wallpaper and fixed audience seating were reproduced based upon only 3 existing historic photographs of the courtroom, no original material remained, making this aspect of the project particularly interesting.  Candace and Tracy worked with a custom wallpaper manufacturer to develop the design and color palette for the reproduction paper.

The floor tile is absolutely beautiful, hand crafted at Craven Dunhill in Telford, England, and installed by Dean Kollatschny of Installation Resources.  Michael Hunt and his crew did a beautiful job on the restoration of the exterior limestone, including reconstruction of the north exterior wall of the courthouse after the removal of the 1931 jail addition.  I hope they win an award for their work!  Peter Haussman installed the reproduction wallpaper in the courtroom with masterful skill that only he can provide.  Michael van Enter was able to restore most of the original finishes on both vault doors, with minimal in-painting.  The finishing touch has to be the beautiful faux grained exterior doors, completed by Jhonny Langer of Source Design.

We breathe a sigh of relief as this project is coming to a close, and everyone in New Braunfels seems very happy about the finished product.