Milam County's Courthouse Still Shines

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The Milam County Courthouse is quite the spectacular structure. And to get it looking immaculate, it took a lot of work and a lot of money. But ask the people practicing here, and they'll tell you it was worth it.

English philosopher Francis Bacon once wrote, "The place of justice is a hallowed place." Milam County's century-old walls and halls are as hallowed as any.

It's believed to be the state's fourth courthouse, but it hasn't always looked like this. It did back in 1892...exactly like this. Back in the late-1990s, the county worked to put the clock tower back on the building.

"Shortly after that, the legislature made available the courthouse restoration grants, and we were one of the first ones to apply," said County Judge Frank Summers. "Luckily, we were awarded $2.9 million, and we had to match it with another $1.4 million."

And after a year of restorations, this 21st century courthouse had an 19th century aura again.

"It was a hardship being relocated, so it was a real joy when it was finally ready to come back," said Dan Cervenka, an assistant county and district attorney.

Though there are some replicas in this building, much of what you see is original.

"Instead of tearing things out and remodeling, they just built over it," said Summers, "so there's a lot of things that were covered up 50, 60, 100 years ago, and during the process, we uncovered them."

The woodwork strikes many. Included in it is a bullet hole from a shootout between a former and then-current sheriff back in the early 1900s. The former died.

But these walls and these halls are holy in Cameron for much more than that. This has been their place of justice for 114 years, though it doesn't look a day over one.

"Sometimes you can be here late at night working on something, and you can almost hear the history happening around you," Summers said.

Cameron city hall has also been renovated recently. Downtown businesses have been encouraged to follow suit. And folks here say the changes have really livened up their community.