Tuesday, August 8, 2017

You had to be from there to know where it was

Old Boston, Texas, is not the same as Boston, Texas, or New Boston, Texas. Each is on Texas Highway 8, but each is an independent community. Coming north along Highway 8 from its intersection with U.S. Highway 67, the first big cluster of houses is Old Boston. Go on up the highway and you will come to Boston. It and New Boston have pretty much conglomerated into one sort-of urban area. But if you are from there, you know the difference.

Boston used to be the county seat of Bowie County, which used to be part of Red River County, as did all of North Texas, all the way out to where Wichita Falls is today. A new county courthouse was built in New Boston in 1986. The old courthouse was not large enough for renovation into a modern facility, and (just a guess) the folks who mattered wanted a new courthouse, preferably near enough Interstate 30 that drivers by could see the progressive nature of Bowie County.

Wikipedia says an arsonist burned the old courthouse on the night of August 13, 1987. The burning solved the problem of what to do with the old white brick building. Preservationists wanted the building restored; others said it was old and would cost too much money, and, besides, the county had a brand-spankin’ new courthouse five miles away.

That fire was about five and a half years before the Hill County Courthouse fire, an event that caused preservationists and the Texas Legislature to get together and put up quite a few hundreds of millions of dollars for restoring old courthouses.

Here is a link to a map of courthouse restoration:


The old Bowie County Jail still stands in the courthouse area.

Here is a link to satellite images of the Old Boston-Boston-New Boston area:


My family lived in Old Boston and Boston. My father’s parents lived in Boston and New Boston. They are buried in a cemetery not far southwest of the old courthouse area. I don’t remember anything about Old Boston and very little about living in Boston. They are okay places to visit.

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