County: McCulloch County Seat: Brady * County Population: 7,984 (2019 Census Estimate)
On Sept. 29, 1899, the local Masonic Lodge laid the cornerstone of the current McCulloch County Courthouse, and by May of 1900 the new courthouse was move-in ready. Designed in the Romanesque Revival style, the McCulloch County capitol features flanking turrets, rusticated native sandstone walls, and a pressed metal clock tower. Interestingly, no clocks were ever installed.
The courthouse also boasts highly decorative arched windows and entryways. The builders oriented the courthouse to the cardinal points, creating an impressive face to those approaching from Brady’s main thoroughfares. The building could be entered from all four directions through pairs of wood and glass transom doors.
By the early 1960s, calls for replacement and demolition of the historic courthouse were quelled by a citizen-led campaign to preserve the 1899 structure, culminating in its designation as a Texas Historical Landmark in 1967.
A restoration project was launched in 2004. In addition to repairs and historically sensitive upgrades, the ornamental ceilings featured in the courtrooms were restored to their original appearance. Project financing was provided through a grant from the THC Texas Historical Courthouse Preservation Program along with a county match. The courthouse was rededicated in September 2009.
Known worldwide as a giant frontier state, Texas’ true geographic heart can be found 12 miles north of the McCulloch County Courthouse on Highway 377. If that’s not enough, the sidewalk from the south entrance of the courthouse leads to the only location in the state where five highways intersect at one sign pole (283, 377, 190, 71, and 87).
The county seat of Brady and the surrounding area offer a variety of special attractions including Brady Lake with its 25 miles of shoreline and 2,020 acres of surface area, offering outdoor enthusiasts boating, skiing, swimming, camping, and fishing.
The Heart of Texas Country Music Museum represents more than 100 artists and provides a musical journey that traces the history of the country music industry. Memorabilia include stage costumes, musical instruments, autographs, posters, and various collector items from legendary figures.
The Heart of Texas Historical Museum is housed in the former McCulloch County Jail. The three-story structure was constructed in 1910 and served as the county’s correctional facility until 1974 when it was deeded to the historical society as a museum. The Curtis Field Control Tower, which was located at Curtis Field during World War II, was donated to the museum, restored, and dedicated to the 10,000 men and women who trained there and to veterans of all branches of military service from McCulloch County.
A historical marker 7 miles east of Brady details the Soldier’s Waterhole where U.S. soldiers rested while traveling the nearby military road during the Civil War.
McCulloch County’s location in the northwest Texas Hill Country provides hunting enthusiasts a year-round wealth of dove, turkey, quail, white-tailed deer, and exotic species.
This article includes information from the Texas Historical Commission.