Long Lost Buildings of Sulphur Springs

The Hopkins County Courthouse sits on the downtown square in Sulphur Springs, Texas.

There is no denying the the buildings of today can not hold a candle to the ornate and detailed buildings of the early twentieth century and before.   Not only do modern builders not usually have access to the craftsmen for such work, but usually property owners can not afford the extravagance of the custom trim work.  Maybe the designs are just too old fashioned.

It is without doubt that those souls who have protected and preserved the buildings of yesteryear are visionaries working for the greater good of their communities.   The extra care and money it takes to return those old buildings to their former glory is daunting.  In many cases it would be cheaper and easier to tear down old buildings and start again.  Thankfully, some of our lovely old buildings around town have been saved from the wrecking ball and can still be cherished and appreciated today.  Examples of these are the current City Hall (originally a post office, then the city library) located at 201 N. Davis and the Hopkins County courthouse which is the jewel of the square.

But these were not the only gorgeous gems that Sulphur Springs had to offer.  My favorites of our lost buildings, of which I am aware, are the Carnegie Library and the First National Bank building.

The Carnegie Library located on Oak Street in Sulphur Springs.

Carnegie Libraries were built around the United States with money donated by Andrew Carnegie in an effort to make educational resources available to the masses.  Sulphur Springs was lucky to have one of these structures.  The Carnegie donation of $12,000 granted on April 10, 1909, inspired citizens to make personal annual pledges to fund the library.  The building was completed in 1910 but has since been razed.  Although WikiVisual says it is the current City Hall, it is not.  I do know the building was still standing in 1955, but I do not know when it was torn down.

This beautiful building was home of the First National Bank of Sulphur Springs, later the Sulphur Springs State Bank.
Another view of the First National Bank in approximately 1909.

J. Riely Gordon was a nationally prominent architect who designed such important and well known structures as the Ellis County Courthouse located in Waxahachie, Texas, as well as the Hopkins County Courthouse pictured at the top of the post.  The First National Bank building of Sulphur Springs was designed by J. Riely Gordon and stood opposite the Hopkins County Courthouse on the corner of Church and Jefferson until it was razed.

Notice the engraving under the bank sign.

Other historical buildings that are now gone forever include:

This 1919 postcard show Sulphur Springs City Hall and the Fire Station.
This is the original building that housed the City National Bank. The postcard is dated 1916. Look at all the ornate trim. The building was razed in 1968 in order to build a new bank building.
The Sulphur Springs Sanitarium, which we would now call the hospital, boasted a sour water well located under the gazebo. The building is interesting, but more importantly, we have lost our sulfur wells.
The City Auditorium was located at the city park, but it has been razed.

A large number of downtown buildings have been razed, fallen down or burned through the years.  Buildings such as the Opera House, the jail, the original courthouse, old schools and college buildings are rarely mentioned, much less seen in photographs.  Maybe their usefulness had gone, making it okay to lose them.  So for the relics that have survived and been reinvented and repurposed, we should be thankful.

10 thoughts on “Long Lost Buildings of Sulphur Springs

  1. Love it! Thank you for sharing. The history of our forefathers is often forgotten due to the lack of sharing the stories and images of their time. I appreciate people like you willing to research and share.

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting, Collin! I wish we were lucky enough to have lots of old photos of Sulphur Springs buildings and residents available to see. We could learn so much from them.

  2. For what it is worth, the Carnegie Library on Oak Avenue was still in operation when we moved here in August 1966. I remember checking out books there. Just down the street on the same side was a working ice house. When the ice house was taken down, my dad bought some of the used “Crush” bricks and built a patio with them.

    1. Jim, do you remember why the Carnegie Library was razed? It looks beautiful in photos. I have heard of the ice house. I bet the patio was nice. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Any pics of old ice house . Seems like you had to climb stairs to get to platform and they brought out a huge block of ice.. my dad took me.. I also spent lots of time at the library .. Mrs McMullen taught ballet and tap there. Pics are awesome. So many memories

    1. Tonya, thank you! Do you live near Sulphur Springs? I wasn’t sure if you knew they have made it into a brewery. I do think I have seen photos somewhere of it back in the day. I will try to find. Thanks! Kayla

      Update: I was told the one you are probably thinking of was on a different street. I don’t remember it. If I find anything, I will share.

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