County Seat: Hallettsville * County Population: 20,337 (2020 Census)
The beautiful 1897 Romanesque Revival Lavaca County Courthouse designed by Texas architect Eugene Heiner has seen relatively few major modifications since its construction. The Historical Marker outside the courthouse offers a glimpse into the county’s founding and early temples of justice:
“Fifth structure to serve as seat of justice for Lavaca, created originally as “La Baca,” a judicial county, by Congress of Republic of Texas in 1842. Declared unconstitutional along with other judicial counties, it was created anew by first Legislature of State of Texas on April 6, 1846, and organized on July 13, 1846. Earliest courthouse was of logs, and for an interval after that one burned, court was held under a live oak tree in old town of Petersburg.
This is the third courthouse on this site since county seat was moved to Hallettsville, 1852…
Led by members of Hallettsville Schuetzen Verein, Silver Cornet Band, fire department, Sons of Hermann, and other orders, county dedicated the building July 4, 1899, with Judge P. H. Green giving the main address…”
The courthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.
The 1982 classic film “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” starring Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds included scenes with the Lavaca County Courthouse in Hallettsville.
Lavaca County is located just south of Interstate 10 on U.S. Highway 77 less than two hours away from Austin, Houston, San Antonio, and Corpus Christi.
December is a perfect time to visit the county seat of Hallettsville when the courthouse is regally clothed in hundreds of white lights to herald the Christmas season with the Festival of Lights.
In nearby Shiner, Spoetzl Brewery, Texas’ oldest independent brewery and the home of the ever-popular Shiner Beer, and the historic Gaslight Theater are just two examples of “Historic Old Towne Shiner.” Originally the setting for plays, balls, political debates, church socials, and town meetings, the Gaslight Theater was the center of Shiner’s social life from 1895 until 1927. Inactive for many years, The Gaslight Theater was born again in 1975 thanks to a local nun and her drama class and is known today for its outstanding amateur productions usually held four times a year.
Yoakum, the “Leather Capital of Texas,” reflects the historic cattle era of Lavaca County with its Chisholm Trail Memorial and Land of Leather Days in February.
Throughout the year, local churches host picnics that showcase the county’s strong rural roots complete with polka music and meals with that home-cooked touch. The Half Moon Holidays and Bocktoberfest in Shiner, the Tom-Tom Festival in Yoakum, the Town and Country Jamboree in Moulton, and the Kolache Fest in Hallettsville are just a few examples of local events done “Lavaca County style.”
Last but certainly not least, the county seat is home to the annual Texas State Championship Fiddlers Frolics, founded in 1971. For more information, go to https://fiddlersfrolics.com/.