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History In the Cards

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Old postcards remind avid collector that Texas’ county courthouses are priceless









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Postcard map 1 Grimes County, Anderson; 1893 2 Hunt County, Greenville; 1885 (razed 1928) 3 Somervell county, Glen Rose; 1893 4 Taylor county, Abilene; 1883 5 johnson county, Cleburne; 1882 (burned 1912) 6 Galveston county, Galveston; 1898 7 bexar county, san antonio; 1892 8 zapata county, zapata; 1901 (submerged 1953) 9 Mclennan coutny, waco; 1901 10 maverick county, eagle pass; 1885


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The first recollection I have of being interested in postcards was being sick and sitting on my bed looking at my parents’ old linen cards. Later in life, when my husband was working on his stamp collection, I became interested in the postcards he had in his stamp library. This quickly turned into a hobby for me. I began collecting cards in the early 1980s. We were given an album with postcards dating from the early 1900s, including a few of Texas courthouses. Then I discovered a newspaper and several magazines devoted to postcard collectors. After purchasing a few subscriptions to these periodicals, I was hooked. Collecting postcards is different from stamp collecting because it is impossible to know how many different cards may be available. There are a multitude of views to collect and a plethora of categories waiting to be unearthed. My first interest was local scenes of Waco, my hometown.

I have amassed a large amount of these cards, but some rare photocards have been difficult to find. My next favorite category is Texas county courthouses. Some of my courthouse cards have been gifts, others I’ve bought at collectors’ shows or through a company in Maryland. After collecting them for many years, I realized that I owned about half of the 254 Texas courthouses. That made me even more interested in searching for the missing ones. Having witnessed the fire in 1993 that ravaged the Hill County courthouse, I am very concerned for the future of the older courthouses. I now realize just how necessary restoration and fire prevention are for these wonderful and priceless landmarks. Agnes Warren Barnes is administrative assistant to the president of The Wallace Group, an engineering, architectural, and surveying firm. She lives in Waco.

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Texas Architect March/April 2006: Preservation  
Texas Architect March/April 2006: Preservation  

Texas Architect is the official publication of the Texas Society of Architects, each edition features recently completed projects and other...