County Seat: Falfurrias
County Population: 7,223
(2010 U.S. Census)
The Brooks County Courthouse was built in 1914 as designed by London-born architect Alfred Giles in a Beaux-Arts style. Drawing from several historic architectural periods, the structure relied predominantly upon the Italian Renaissance for its influence.
The county capitol has retained most of its original appearance and has weathered well due for the most part to the high quality of materials used during original construction.
The courthouse contains two cornerstones, one laid by the Masonic Lodge and another by Brooks County. The Masonic cornerstone references “the Great Architect of the universe” preserving the structure from decay as well as “the corn of nourishment, the wine of refreshment, and the oil of joy,” denoting plenty, health and peace. The county cornerstone contains several Mexican andU.S.coins along with copies of the local newspaper from 1914.
Brooks County representatives began preparing a plan for application to the Texas Historical Commission’s Courthouse Preservation Program during the first funding cycle in 1999-2000. The $4.6 million project received a grant for architectural plan development in 2002 and received a construction grant award in 2006. State funding provided in Round II and Round IV totaled $3.16 million.
The courthouse was updated several years ago with new air conditioning, a full sprinkler system, new electrical distribution system and slate roof. Other projects included new accessible elevator and restrooms, balcony restoration, fire alarms, new audio/visual equipment, reproduction wood windows, and new wood doors to match the originals. Officials rededicated the courthouse in January 2010 during a day-long fiesta.
Brooks County, home of the Fightin’ Jerseys and Hearts Delight (lavender wildflower), is located along the Chisholm Trail in the most central point of the southern tip of Texas.
The county has been labeled an agricultural mecca due to its production of beef, dairy products such as the famous Falfurrias Butter, and vegetable and fruit crops. The county is also known for its hunting and fishing, attracting famous guests including both former Bush presidents. Other visitors frequent the county each spring to take in the spectacular wildflowers lining county roads and highways.
The area’s rich history is chronicled in the Heritage Museum, located along the Chisholm Trail and the Texas Tropical Trail of Texas. Dedicated to the preservation of a frontier heritage, museum collectibles include artifacts, relics, photos, and personal papers of the early pioneer settlers whose deeds and adventures helped weave the fabric of Texas history. The museum also houses the Ranger Room, dedicated to the Texas Rangers and their role in the history of Brooks County. In fact, the county was named for a famous Ranger – Captain James Abijah Brooks. The Ranger Room features original guns, uniforms, records, personal memorabilia, and pictures of famous Texas Rangers. Finally, the museum houses 100 pairs of boots worn by Texas Rangers, including “Big Foot” Wallace.
Brooks County celebrates a variety of annual events including the Brooks County Fair conducted in March, Fiesta Ranchera held in May, Fiesta del Campo in October sponsored by the Falfurrias Chamber of Commerce, and the Watermelon Round Up in June sponsored by the Volunteer Fire Department.
Raul M. Ramirez
Jose Tony Martinez