The Texas Legislature created Cottle County in 1876 and named it for George Washington Cottle, who died defending the Alamo forty years earlier. Stage routes connected early ranches, including the OX, SMS, and Matador, to established towns in other counties. In late 1891, settlers petitioned for the county to be organized, and an election in January 1892 formalized Cottle County's boundaries.
A geographically central site was selected as county seat and named for Paducah, Kentucky, hometown of settler Richard Potts. County business was conducted in existing homes until a permanent courthouse, a small one-story frame building, was finished in May 1892. That was replaced in November 1894 with a two-story brick buildling, with a prominent bell tower, designed by J. A. White.
The Cottle County economy flourished, and in April 1929, county commissioners awarded a contract for a new courthouse to architect C. H. Leinbach. Four days later, they rescinded that order and the citizens voted on $150,000 in courthouse bonds, a measure that failed outside Paducah but passed in the city and carried overall. The county gave a new contract to the Wichita Falls firm of Voelcker and Dixon, designers of 11 courthouses across Texas. In the fall of 1929, work began here on one of the premier Art Deco style courthouses in the state,
a four-story brick and terra cotta building that looms over the square. Stepped blocks project from a central mass, with carved eagles, stylized figures of justice and liberty, and inscriptions above each of four entries. The unusual design, which has drawn comparison to an Egyptian temple, makes it one of the most distinctive public buildings in the region.
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark