Favorite thing: Denton was named for The Reverend John Denton, a lawyer, preacher, ranger, and Indian fighter. The center of town is the Courthouse Square, which is surrounded by restaurants (photo 5) and stores that sell such things as books, antiques, sporting goods, handmade carpets, and jewelry (photo 2). In the center of the square is the courthouse (photo 4).
The first Denton Courthouse was built in 1857 on the north side of the square. In 1875, the Courthouse burned. Two years later, the city built a new, brick Courthouse in the center of the Square. In 1895, lightening hit the Courthouse and started a fire. The fire burned the Courthouse down. Between 1895 and 1877, a larger, stone Courthouse, the Courthouse-on-the-Square was built using locally quarried limestone, gray sandstone from Mineral Wells, and Burnet County red granite for the columns. In modern times, the courthouse fell into disrepair, so in 1985, it was restored and a museum was put in on the first floor (see "Things To Do" Tip)
Fondest memory: John Bunyan Denton was born in Tennessee on July 28, 1806, orphaned and then adopted by a family named Wells, which shortly afterwards migrated to Arkansas Territory. Denton ran away from home when he was twelve years old and for a time worked as a deckhand on an Arkansas River flatboat. In 1824 he married Louisianan Mary Greenlee Stewart, who taught him to read and write. He joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, and for ten years served in Arkansas and southern Missouri as an itinerant minister. In the fall of 1836 or early in 1837, Denton crossed the Red River into Texas, and began the study of law. He served in the military, as a captain in a company commanded by Col. Edward H. Tarrant. On May 22, 1841, the unit attacked the Indians of Keechi Village in the battle of Village Creek, about six miles east of the site of Fort Worth. Denton was instantly killed by a bullet that hit his chest as he raised his rifle to fire. His body was brought back on horseback and buried in an unmarked grave on the east bank of Oliver Creek, near its confluence with a stream now called Denton Creek. Twenty years later John S. Chisum disinterred the remains and buried them in a wooden box in the corner of the yard of his home on Clear Creek, near Bolivar. In 1901 the Pioneer Association of Denton County, after diligent search and thorough identification, again removed the remains and buried them with appropriate ceremonies in the southeast corner of the Denton County Courthouse lawn.
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Favorite thing: Yes, you know it's hot here. However, every other year in December-February it SNOWS in Denton!! Everyone stops and freaks out!! It's a HUGE deal! Schools are closed and everyone goes sledding in parking lots of college apartments haha. Don't call us crazy. We just rarely get fun times with snow!
Fondest memory: My best memory was the time school was cancelled for two days straight! We had to walk to Walgreens to get food cuz we had nothing left and Papa Johns was not delivering hahaha!
Oak-Hickory Historic District
Favorite thing: My daughter drove me down West Oak so I could take pictures of this collection of historic homes. Victorian architectural themes prevail, but the neighborhood presents a fairly eclectic mix of architectural styles. Established in 1986, the district has the largest concentration of Historic Landmark Designations in the City. I have picked one photo illustrating each of the styles and copied the description of each style from the Historic District website.
Photo 1 - Classic Revival is like the government buildings - Symmetrical with simple geometric forms. They often have colossal pedimented porticos flanked by a series of pilasters
Photo 2: Queen Anne is a style of Victorian. First floors of Queen Annes are often brick or stone, upper stories are of stucco, clapboard or decorative shingles and huge chimneys are common. Roofs are hipped or gabled, often with second story projections and corner turrets. Gable ends are ornamented with half-timbering or stylized relief decoration. Molded or specially shaped bricks are used as decorative accents. Banks of casement windows are common and upper panes are often outlined with stained-glass squares. Veranda and balconies open to the outdoors. Wooden “gingerbread” trim in scrolled and rounded “fish-scale” patterns frequently graces gables and porches. Massive cut stone foundations are typical
Photo 3 is Prairie style. Frank Lloyd Wright is the most famous architect of the Prairie style. Prairie style has a predominantly horizontal appearance with a broad hipped or gabled roof and widely overhanging eaves. Houses usually have two stories with light colored brick or stucco and wood. Dark wooden strips against the light stucco background reveal the influence of Japanese architecture. Windows are arranged in horizontal ribbons and often feature stained glass in floral or geometrical patterns
Photo 4 is of a Bungalow/Craftsman house. The British colonists in India adopted the one story thatched roofed huts from the Indian province of Bengal which were called bangla or bangala. Craftsman style bungalows usually have: a low-pitched roof, wide eaves with exposed roof rafters, decorative braces, a porch with square columns, and are one, or one and a half, stories. Many Craftsman bungalows also have: stone chimneys, gabled dormers and a sloping foundation
Photo 5 is another type of Bungalow - the variation called the "Airplane" bungalow has a much smaller area on its second floor, centered on the structure, and is thought to look like the cockpit of an early plane
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Favorite thing: Denton is dominated by the old, recently restored courthouse in the central square Inside the historic 1896 Courthouse-on-the-Square is the Denton County Office of History and Culture
Monday - Friday
8:00 am - 4:00 pm
The Courthouse Museum is located on the 1st floor of the historic Courthouse-on-the-Square. The museum houses a variety of exhibits depicting Denton County history. Special collections range from primitive to modern Indian pottery, weaponry and early American artifacts.
There is also a traveling museum and some rotating exhibits
Fondest memory: But the best thing about the courthouse is just looking at it from the outside.
From the National Register listing narrative
"On July 3, 1895, the Commissioners' Court authorized the construction of a new building specifying 'the Romanesque style of Architecture for the Denton County Courthouse...
"Centered in the public square atop an eminence, the Denton County Courthouse is comprised of a group of imposing masses. Each façade consists of a five part composition with a projecting pavilion emphasizing the entrance. Each entrance pavilion is enriched by a Roman- arched opening, two ranges of columns and a triangular pediment. At each corner is a series of balconies surmounted by a tower with an ogival roof.
"The dominant feature of the composition is the central octagonal tower rising above a broad platform with four ancillary domes, a composition which was most certainly inspired by the dome of the Cathedral, Florence Italy (1296).
"In Romanesque style, one of Texas' most prominent nineteenth-century architects created a building with extra ordinary richness incorporating a combination of forms that is similar in concept to many other courthouses but unique in composition."
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