The March 1916 fire that left downtown Paris in ruins ravaged Lamar County's massive 1897 Romanesque courthouse and tower, once thought indestructible. On April 20, 1916, the Lamar County Commissioners Court chose local designers and builders William G. Barry, Edwin R. Smith and Elmer George Withers to work with the Fort Worth architectural firm of Sanguinet & Staats to design a new courthouse.
The county judge and commissioners court and Carl G. Staats reviewed the designs of several courthouses around the state. Some Paris residents requested that the new courthouse be built in the center of its lot in keeping with the city's plans for wide roads at the town square, but the court decided that it would be more efficient to build the new structure upon the same foundation as the old courthouse.
The upper ruins of the old courthouse were dismantled by July 1916. In late August the commissioners chose J. C. Buchanan and J. N. Gilder of Fort Worth, who did significant work in rebuilding Paris after the fire, to serve as contractors. Construction began in September. By that time the restoration and renovation of several other buildings around the square was nearing completion, and downtown Paris took on a modern appearance. Completed by November 1917, the new courthouse was built of fireproof concrete covered by rough pink granite salvaged from the 1897 building. Distinctive features of the imposing Classical edifice include corner pavilions and engaged granite columns and the Classical cornice with matching terra
cotta ornament (notably eagles and medallions). Marked by triple-arched porticos, the primary entrances echo the Romanesque style of the original structure.
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark