County Seat: Weatherford County * Population: 148,222 (2020 Census)
The Historic Parker County Courthouse was designed by architects Dodson & Dodson in a Second Empire style. Erected in 1886, this towering monument fashioned from limestone is topped by a four-sided clock tower. The exterior of the county capitol, a National Register Property, was restored in the early 1990s. The county rededicated the courthouse in June 2005 following interior restoration.
The land that would eventually become Parker County was part of a colonial grant to S.M. Williams and Stephen F. Austin, the father of Texas. The county was officially created in 1855 and named for Isaac Parker, its legislative sponsor. The county seat of Weatherford was named for Texas Sen. Jefferson Weatherford.
Judge Nathaniel Burford conducted the first session of court underneath a post oak tree near a tavern some 5 miles from present-day Weatherford, as described by June Rayfield Welch in “The Texas Courthouse Revisited.”
“A one-room courthouse was built in 1856 of undressed pine lumber hauled by oxen from Red River County,” Welch wrote. “Two years later, J.R. Campbell and B.L. Richey completed a $6,750, two-story, brick capitol. That courthouse burned May 13, 1874. Attorney George Plowman, who officed there, and Deputy Surveyor George Helfrin reported smelling kerosene as they fled.” The third courthouse was also destroyed by fire.
J.M. Milliken submitted a bid for the county’s 1885 courthouse for $55,555.55. He was penalized some $2,500 for finishing 129 days late, according to Welch.
Interestingly, when a horde of pigeons threatened to jam the tower’s clock mechanism in 1945, a pigeon shoot was conducted to remedy the problem.
Historic homes and buildings accentuate the county, including more than 60 Queen Ann, Victorian, and other architecturally unique structures erected at the turn of the century.
Named by the Texas Legislature as the Peach Capital of Texas, the county seat of Weatherford and Parker County boast some of the largest, sweetest, juiciest peaches in all of Texas. The fruit is celebrated every year at July’s annual Peach Festival, Weatherford’s largest one-day event. Peachy treats include ice cream, juleps, smoothies, cobbler, and peaches and cream.
The town also turns out for First Monday Trade Days held the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday prior to the first Monday of each month, offering antiques, arts and crafts, food, and special activities. The event was created in honor of the county’s historic First Monday Stray Day Sale during which local farmers and ranchers sold off animals in the square.
Weatherford has yet another distinction, the Cutting Horse Capital of the World. The county seat is home to dozens of professional trainers and hall-of-fame horses.
Parker County Judge Pat Deen and County Relations Officer Cintia Ortiz welcome courthouse tour requests. For more information, please contact Ortiz at email@example.com or 817-598-6166.