Madisonville, TX Courthouse Fire, May 1967

Madisonville Courthouse built 1896, destroyed by fire 1967

Flames Take Courthouse At Madisonville

Staff Special to The News

MADISONVILLE, Texas—Lawmen were looking for an arson suspect Sunday night in the wake of a fire that destroyed the Madison County Courthouse and an undetermined number of county legal records.

Constable W. L. Clute said lawmen were seeking for questioning a suspect seen in the courthouse shortly before the fire broke out.

The 3-story, brick courthouse, more than 70 years old, collapsed in a heap after the fire, which broke out shortly after 6 p. m., raged through the building for a couple of hours before being brought under control.

Richard Bates, a witness, said that the fire threatened businesses bordering the courthouse square in Madisonville, a town midway between Dallas and Houston on Interstate Highway 45.

Glass fronts in several stores were shattered by the heat of the blaze. Firemen from Madisonville, Huntsville, College Station and Centerville brought the fire under control by 9 p. m.

Another witness, Fred Evans, owner of the Colonial Inn Restaurant, said the fire may have destroyed many valuable records because the county had no microfilm depository for duplicate records.

He said that in addition to the normal legal activities, the courthouse, in recent years, has been the center of many oil leasing transactions.

Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX 15 May 1967