Brazos County Courthouse (Bryan, TX)
The Brazos River was known by the Spanish Explorers as Los Brazos de Dios, "the arms of God." Legend says that Francisco Vázquez de Coronado and his men were dying of thirst in West Texas until Indians led them to the Brazos and into the “Arms of God.” The Brazos is the longest river in Texas and Brazos County was named for the river in 1841.
Bryan was named for William Joel Bryan, a veteran of the Texas Revolution and nephew of Stephen F. Austin. Bryan donated land for the townsite that would become the county seat of Brazos County.
Founded in 1876, Texas A&M University is located in nearby College Station.
Brazos County is a perfect example of the sad endings that many of the state’s wonderful courthouses met. In 1954 the county hired a man to come to Bryan and dismantle the old 1892 courthouse, which presumably had outlived its usefulness, to make way for a shiny, sleek new modern building. In fourteen days the old courthouse was unceremoniously demolished, undoing sixty-two years of history in two weeks time. All that’s left is a small relic, the old cornerstone (lower right). When you travel through towns that knew better, you can see the pride the communities have in their grand center pieces. Ironically the old courthouses seem to make the town squares vibrant and alive. In Bryan, however, they threw that away and replaced it with a big gray depressing box. Other areas of downtown may be thriving, but it’s a shame knowing what they could have had if they had just taken the time to appreciate it.