Meridian, Texas

Downtown Houston

When we got to Houston I messaged Laura then Dad and I met up with her. I called Laura at her workplace at Sugarland and we decided to eat at the nearby Japanese restaurant “Keepers.”  We had a pleasant talk and Dad went out later to check on Corvo. Because of the humid and hot weather we need to keep him hydrated.

Later on, Laura and I followed Dad and Corvo. It was a nice moment to Laura when they met. After that short reunion, Dad and I went on our way. I took over driving northwards and we were on our way to Lubbock climbing up the Highway 6. The views were spectacular on this highway, the big Texas state. there were hills and nature everywhere and we passed by a couple of small towns with stoplights but all in all it was a present trip.

It was afternoon or evening, I am not sure about the summer sunset when we came upon a tall, beautiful tower. From our point of view, it was a historical building and it was out of place because its in the middle of nowhere. I was gonna skip it but Dad insisted and besides Corvo might be needing his leak break. We saw the sign, “Meridian as we entered the town. Here is the history of this small town.

Hills in Highway 6

“Meridian, Texas is the county seat of Bosque County, is on the North Bosque River. It is also on the Santa Fe rail line, and Meridian is on State highways 6, 22, 144, and 174. Meridian Texas is forty-seven miles northwest of Waco, Texas near the center of the county. Meridian, Texas was originated in 1854, as the county seat of Bosque County. The origin of the Meridian, Texas name is not clear. Jasper Mabray suggested the name, which according to legend recognized Meridian Creek and Meridian Knobs, already named because of their proximity to the ninety-eighth meridian. the most likely explanation is that the commissioners believed their town lay near a meridian.

In 1854 William McCurry built a one-room log courthouse, however, a series of buildings replaced it over the years. A tavern opened before the end of 1854. Postmaster The first Meridian, Texas post office was established in 1856. A general variety store opened in Meridian in 1861. The Bosque Beacon, Meridian’s first newspaper, was published from 1866 to 1868, and Meridian has been served almost constantly by newspapers ever since. Meridian boomed during the 1880s. The Santa Fe line crossed Bosque County in 1881, passing 1½ miles east of Meridian. Before the advent of rail transportation, Meridian had been on a state route between Waco and Stephenville. The core of Meridian remained at the original site. In spite of the inconvenience of the railroad’s location, Meridian prospered as a shipping center for surrounding farms.”

We reached downtown which was kind of empty there were very few vehicles and most of the stores are closed, mainly because it was already late.  We parked by the grand building which was a county courthouse and with a description on it in a Texas historical marker.  As we take pictures here is the rest of the town’s history.

“By 1888 Meridian had a business district organized around the town square. In 1886 Meridian citizens voted to establish their own school district; before then children had been educated by the county. Meridian College opened in 1909 and operated as a junior college from 1913 until 1927.

During the late 1920s, Meridian experienced a decline, possibly started by drought and later by the Great Depression. Meridian’s population dropped from 1,074 in 1920 to 759 in 1930. Afterward, the number of residents climbed to 1,330 by 1980. Poultry processing was Meridian’s leading industry in 1954, and it lasted until the mid-1970s when Ralston Purina purchased the plant and converted it to other uses. By 1978 Meridian the state’s lowest unemployment rate, with only 1.9 percent of the workforce jobless. Numerous Meridian residents were employed by businesses in surrounding towns and cities.

Bosque County Courthouse

During the 1980s Meridian’s economy centered on ranching and shipping agricultural products. Also, hunting was important, as was publishing and the manufacture of clothing and refuse containers. Numerous prominent Texans have called the Meridian area home, including folklorist John Lomax, US senator Earle Mayfield, and state attorney general and Supreme Court judge Calvin Cureton. Meridian sponsors the Bosque Valley Arts and Crafts Festival each July and a street dance in October, as well as the annual “Top of the Hill Country” National Championship Barbecue Cook-Off and “Fair on the Square.” In 1990 the population of Meridian was 1,390. The population was 1,491 in 2000. Meridian’s population was 1,445 in 2014.”

That was the history of this town but of course, I saved a spot for the building that caught our eyes, in these last two pieces of information. Here s the history of the building that caught our attention. There was only my brief introduction to this amazing piece of architecture and the rest was the history of the building.

Bosque County Courthouse

Bosque County Courthouse

The 1875 Bosque County Courthouse

“The 1886 Bosque County Courthouse, designed by Ft. Worth architect J.J. Kane, is one of the oldest Texas courthouse structures in continuous use. The three-story limestone building is designed in a high Victorian Gothic Revival style utilizing an Italianate off-center clock tower and corner turret roofs.

In 1934, as part of a WPA project, the design was significantly altered with the removal of the clock tower and entire roof structure, steel windows replaced wood windows, and a small one-story addition to the west facade. A flat concrete roof and cast stone parapet incorporating a single clock face completed the changes.

The 1886 Bosque County Courthouse in the 1930s

By the 1970s, a contemporary lowered ceiling reduced the two-story district courtroom to half its original height and lowered the ceilings in most spaces to accommodate mechanical and electrical installations.

Reconstruction of the original clock tower and the four corner roof turrets was the most dramatic change accomplished during the 2005-2007 restoration. These large elements were fabricated in Paris, Texas, trucked to Meridian, and craned into position with hundreds watching. Completing the restoration, historic reproduction wood windows and entry doors were installed; the district courtroom, halls, and public spaces were reopened to their full height; the original concrete floors rehabilitated, and wood wainscot paneling reconstructed. The rededication celebration was held on September 22, 2007.

That ends the history of the Basque Country Courthouse and here is a brief history of a man who played a role during Texas days and we will see if he has something to do with the town of Meridian.

General Alison Nelson (1822-1862)

“Soldier, statesman and Indian fighter. In his native Georgia. A legislator and mayor of the city of Atlanta. General in Cuban Liberation Forces 1850.

On reaching Texas in 1856, he joined state troops fighting Indians. Elected in 1859 to the state legislature; served as a delegate to 1861 Texas Secession Convention. In the Civil War raised, trained and led 10th Regiment Texas Infantry. Sent into the defense of Arkansas, repulsed a federal assault on Devall’s Bluff, June 1862. Died of illness in camp near Austin, Arkansas on October 7, 1862.”

Dusk on the road

I guess this person has nothing to the with the town of Meridian, but his marker was located on the courthouse grounds. Anyway, we explored some of the old buildings in the area up to a certain part and went back to the courthouse. We took photos and then head on our way since it is getting very late and we still have a long way to go to Lubbock.

Here is the links for more information:

https://www.thc.texas.gov/preserve/projects-and-programs/texas-historic-courthouse-preservation/restored-courthouses/bosque

Say Cheez!

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