About 1890, the structural safety of Fayette County's third courthouse came into question, and plans began for the building of this structure to serve as the seat of justice for the county. The commissioners court hired San Antonio architect James Riely Gordon (1863-1937) to design the new courthouse and oversee the construction. Gordon, who was 27 years old at the time, went on to become a noted architect of public buildings in Texas.Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 2001
Funding for the 1890-91 courthouse came from the sale of $90,000 in bonds. Martin, Byrnes and Johnston of Colorado City served as building contractors. Gordon designed the courthouse in the Romanesque Revival style and specified four types of native Texas stone to detail the exterior: Blue Muldoon sandstone, Belton White limestone, Pecos Red sandstone and Pink Burnet granite. A central open atrium, designed to promote good lighting and natural ventilation, highlighted the interior space. The extensive use of stone, along with the massive arched windows and doorways, exemplify the building's Romanesque Revival influences.
The oldest existing J. Riely Gordon courthouse in Texas, the Fayette County courthouse was completed in 1891. It has served as a setting for social events, celebrations, courtroom dramas and political oratory, and continues as a center of politics and government for the county.