The Texas Legislature created Eastland County in 1858, but sparse settlement delayed organization until 1873, when Merriman (8 mi. NE) became the first county seat. Charles Connellee and Jack Daugherty platted the new town of Eastland near the center of the county, and by a vote of 67 to 60 the county seat moved here in 1875. The commissioners met in a stone building across from the town square. The Texas & Pacific Railway arrived in October 1880 and spurred growth, but when the Texas Central Railway created the new town of Cisco, Eastland had to survive a county seat election in August 1881. An 1896 fire destroyed the 1883 courthouse, and Cisco again forced a county seat election, receiving a majority of votes but not the required two-thirds margin. In 1898, the county completed a new three-story courthouse and jail in Eastland.
Following oil and natural gas booms in the 1910s and 1920s, voters approved $300,000 in bonds for a new building designed by the Dallas architectural firm of Otto H. Lang and Frank O. Witchell. The grand new building opened by December 1928 with space for county, district and appellate courts and offices. The Art Deco style courthouse exhibits stepped massing in its design, with prominent wings accenting a central tower. The building is clad in brick with ornate decorative terra cotta trim and ornamentation.
Details include carved eagles, shields and medallions, pilasters, tripartite arched entryways, and stylized decorative banding. The Eastland County Courthouse gained widespread fame as the final resting place for "Old Rip," a celebrated horned toad reputedly liberated from the cornerstone of the prior courthouse.
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark
Marker is property of the State of Texas