By David Webb
The News Correspondent
ATHENS–Part of North Prairieville Street will be closed for four hours on May 17 for a 100-year anniversary celebration of the courthouse.
The Athens City Council approved the request by Henderson County during a meeting March 24. The street will be closed from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the event.
County officials have not yet released details of the planned event.
City officials said they can close a street for up to four hours without requiring a permit from the Texas Department of Transportation.
The historic three-floor courthouse on the town square was built in 1913. It is constructed of red brick in Classic Revival style. The building, which includes a full basement, was designed by L. L. Thurman. It has angled wings and a cupola. It is Henderson County’s fourth courthouse, and the second one to be constructed in Athens.
Henderson County’s first courthouse was built in Buffalo in 1850, and the second one was built in Centerville in 1861, according to pictorial histories of Texas’ 254 counties depicting grand courthouses. Both cities are now considered ghost towns. The third courthouse was built in Athens in 1887.
The Texas Legislature established Henderson County on April 27, 1846, and named it in honor of James Pinckney Henderson, the first governor of Texas. In 1848 the legislature broke up Henderson County to form Van Zandt and Kaufman Counties. Athens was founded as the county seat and given its name with the hope that it would become a center of learning.
In other action, the council:
• rezoned a lot on Frizzell Street from single-family residential to two-family residential duplex.
• abandoned an unused alley in Bishop Heights Addition.
• authorized a contract with Henderson County Girls Softball Association for use of Cain Park.
• appointed an election judge and an alternate for the May 10 city election that will include a proposition to consider abolishing the Athens Municipal Water Authority, which the city is now engaged with in a lawsuit. The ballot will also include three contested council seat races.
• approved a replat of two lots into one in the South Platte Subdvision of the Lake Athens area.
• tabled appointing a new member to the Zoning Commission until more candidates come forward.