Hartley County Texas – Courthouse and other interesting places
Hartley County – Introduction
Hartley County Texas we’ve been twice. The first time was on a Sunday and everything was so sleepy and the courthouse was closed. Days the courthouse are closed are the best days to shoot pictures of the outside. No one is around, at all and one has free run of the grounds. The second time was during the week, but, there was something going on in the courtroom. Next time we get back, we are going to see the courtroom.
Hartley County is named for two brothers, Oliver and Rufus Hartley, early Texas Lawyers. Oliver Hartley was a private in the Mexican War, was a codifier of early Texas law, and was reporter of decisions of the Texas Supreme Court and was the Representative of Galveston County in the Texas State Legislature. The original County Seat of Hartley County was Hartley, the Railroad came to the Town of Channing, which grew a little faster and in 1903 the county seat was moved to Channing.
The county has had exactly two courthouses. First the courthouse was built in the original county seat Hartley, in 1891. As the Fort Worth and Denver City Railroad came to the Town of Channing, it grew a little faster and in 1903 the county seat was moved to Channing. The 1891 Courthouse was lifted and moved “down the road” to Channing. The Second and current courthouse was constructed in 1906.
Pictures of the older Hartley County Courthouses
None Located to Date.
Pictures of the Hartley County Courthouse of 1906 (Current)
Other Hartley County Attractions
The most striking of attractions in Channing, aside from the courthouse and Jail, is the volunteer effort to restore the XIT Ranch General Office. This would be the place, in the late 1800s where the day to day business of the XIT Ranch were performed. It is also the historic residence of the Ranch General Manager. We were given a tour by one of the volunteers. When we were at the courthouse, one of the employees called him and asked if he was available to give us a tour!! (I love the hospitality in these small Texas towns!!) Spending at least an hour in the house looking freely, listening to the stories, and photographing inside and out, total fascination for us.
Another facility we were invited by employees to tour is the historic 1906 county jail. We’re told it was built around a naval vessel facility that was purchased …. Currently the building houses the Sherriff’s office and administrative offices. Loved the tour!!
Two Hartley County items are physically located up the road in Dalhart, Dallam County. The current county jail and the county veterans memorial are shared with Dallam County.
Our List of additional attractions to see
I didn’t find the cornerstone on the county courthouse (forgot)
Research historical markers and sites
Rita Blanca Lake Park
XIT Ranch General Office (To see how the restoration is coming along)
Explore the old Dalhart Army Airfield Area (Actually in the northern area of the county, just south of Dalhart)
Explore any Railroad Activity that remains
Explore the Town of Hartley (I understand the original County Jail Structure still exists)
Explore photographic history of the county (Courthouses, Jails, Railroad, etc)
Explore City and County Parks
If anyone knows of anything else … please leave us a comment! We’d love to see it, next time we go out!!
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