Heritage, Summer 2005 Page: 12
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"The Main Street program...has
to the success and development
of the sense of
community in Canyon."
has been involved in Canyon since 1983
when, due to a district court mandate,
Williams was given the task of producing
an objective feasibility study on the
Randall County Courthouse. The resulting
report, which, according to the firm's
web site, detailed the "advantages and disadvantages
of demolition and of reuse" of
the courthouse, ended up not only saving
the courthouse from demolition, but also
received an award from the Texas
Historical Commission. "The Main Street
program, along with the support of
Commissioner Skip Huskey and Judge
Ernie Houdashell," says Williams, "has
been essential to the success and development
of the sense of community in
In May 2004, Randall County received
emergency funding from the Texas
Historical Commission's Courthouse
Preservation Program in order to begin the
restoration project. A group of Randall
County individuals from Canyon and
Amarillo then formed the Randall County
Courthouse Restoration Fund Board, a
non-profit organization devoted solely to
raising funds for the restoration of the
courthouse in Canyon. The Main Street
Program, working with the county, has
applied for numerous grants and has raised
close to $300,000 to help restore the structure.
As Ecker explains, "The courthouse
was built years ago as the center of the
community, and it is a symbol of strength.
This project will restore the structure to
its original beauty and allow the building
to remain a working courthouse for years
to come." The first floor of the building
will be home to the new Randall County
History Museum, making the courthouse
a place where the community can learn
about their past inside of a historically
Also in the works is a new streetscape
for the square that includes sidewalks and
landscaping. The streetscape will address
drainage issues, ADA compliance requirements,
and ultimately make the square
more pedestrian-friendly. "We want the
square to be a public gathering place
where events and festivals can be held,"
Canyon is a model Main Street
Community, but they didn't get there
without help. To assist Canyon's Main
Street Program with their restoration
initiative, a group of graduate students
in architecture from the Community
Design Center at Texas Tech University
helped create a conceptual design for
the restoration master plan. Working
with the Texas Historical Commission,
the students made a scale model of the
square as it will look with the restored
courthouse and a promotional video that
is used for fundraising. Along with help
from the Community Design Center, the
Main Street Program has made use of
the support systems that are provided to
all designated Main Street
Communities. "The program provides
excellent technical assistance, and Main
Street experts are always available,
teaching you how to bring together
diverse elements of the community,"
Canyon is on the way to realizing its big
dreams. In addition to the work on the
courthouse, the Main Street Program in
Canyon hopes to have all improvements
completed around the square by 2009.
Ecker remarks, "I'm just excited that the
people of Canyon are working on the project
as a whole. Changes have been needed
for years, and I'm glad we're moving forward
as a united community."-Rebekah
Rebekah Miller Nagy, from Harlingen, is an
English writing and rhetoric major at St.
Edward's University in Austin.
This three-dimensional rendering of the Randall County courthouse in Canyon
offers an idea of what the renovated structure will look like. The original structure
was built in 1909, and restoration efforts will soon begin. Courtesy of TWC
HERITA GE W SUMMER 2005
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Summer 2005, periodical, Summer 2005; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45369/m1/12/: accessed September 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.