Texas Forts Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program


Photo by Sutherland Photography

Post-Civil War vigilante groups still terrorized locals in the late 1880s when Goldthwaite became the seat of newly-formed Mills County. First order of county business: build a sturdy two-story limestone jail, now a National Register landmark and home of the chamber of commerce. Next door loomed an imposing county courthouse which symbolized the promising agricultural community’s future. The courthouse burned in 1912, so determined county leaders immediately rebuilt a fireproof, three-story edifice designed by noted San Antonio architect Henry T. Phelps. Recently-restored through a grant from the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program, the Classical Revival courthouse remains the centerpiece of Goldthwaite’s shady downtown square. Restoration returned the courtroom’s ornate pilasters and balcony seating, as well as the building’s original warm-toned plaster interior. Carefully conserved basement wall murals still advertise bail bonds, banks and barbers. A short walk away, an 1890’s stone structure houses the Mills County Historical Museum. Displayed artifacts retell county history in period room settings, including a post office, drugstore, general store, schoolhouse and dentist office. Twenty miles southwest, you can still drive the wooden planks of the 1939 Regency Suspension Bridge which spans the Colorado River as one of the state’s last working wire bridges.