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Courthouses & GPS

Joined
Feb 24, 2008
Messages
116
Location
Dobbin, Tx.
First Name
Tom
Last Name
Neimeyer
Last year I started going to the Texas Courthouses. I really enjoy it but sometimes I have trouble making my routes in MapSource. I learned a few more minutes keeps you from driving around town looking for the Courthouse.

The way I make my routes is...I use Google to find the Courthouse GPS info, enter the coordinates into MapSource by selecting "view", "go to position", I then place a waypoint and then I select "view", "view in Google Earth". If I can see the Courthouse from that view, I leave the waypoint, if not, I delete the waypoint and try again.

A lot of work but it gets me to the Courthouse with no fuss when I am on the road.

I would like to know how you make your routes.

Cheers, Tom
 
Joined
Feb 24, 2005
Messages
10,511
Location
Panorama Village
First Name
Tony
Last Name
Massey
I use your method and/or I look up the County Clerks office address which is more times than not, located at the courthouse. Some counties do not give a physical address so I also look up bail bonds and attorney's in the county seat as they are generally located around the courthouse square.
 
Joined
Feb 24, 2008
Messages
116
Location
Dobbin, Tx.
First Name
Tom
Last Name
Neimeyer
I am saving the Long/Lat coordinates in a spreadsheet, not sure if you want to add that info to your database but it will be available once I get through.

Cheers, Tom
 
Joined
Apr 17, 2010
Messages
439
Location
Willis, TX
I pass the neat courthouse in Anderson every day, and would be enthused to be your guide out there one day. Good curvy roads and scenery the whole way out from Willis, but I imagine getting up IH-45 will be the boring part.
 
Joined
Feb 24, 2005
Messages
10,511
Location
Panorama Village
First Name
Tony
Last Name
Massey
I am saving the Long/Lat coordinates in a spreadsheet, not sure if you want to add that info to your database but it will be available once I get through.

Cheers, Tom
Any help I can get would be appreciated.
 

Janet

Forum Supporter
Joined
Dec 9, 2005
Messages
3,396
Location
Midlothian, TX
First Name
Janet
I did not use any routes at all.
I made a copy of the Rand McNally page and used a highlighter to dot the county seat. I then looked at the maps and decided which way I wanted to go. When I would get to the county seat, I just "winged it." I headed for the older parts of town, I looked for big antennae, I looked tor telltale clues and such as I was coming into towns.
I had a blast, and got to see a lot of stuff in the towns and cites. I wouldn't have changed a thing.
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2007
Messages
734
Location
Elgin, Texas
Perhaps the greatest joy in photographing courthouses is the things you see along the way. I love wandering around small towns hunting for the courthouses. Take your time... eat in the local cafes... & Janet's right - the antennas always give their location away.
 
Joined
Feb 24, 2008
Messages
116
Location
Dobbin, Tx.
First Name
Tom
Last Name
Neimeyer
I have to agree that you find a lot of interesting things when you wander around trying to find the Courthouse, but it makes me curious. Wandering around takes me a lot of time, how many Courthouses do you try to get to in a day? How many Courthouses have you been to totally? Is there any plan to have been to them all in a certain time frame (2 years, 3 years, 4 years...)?

I'm fairly new to the Courthouse gig, I have about 50 bagged so far in the last 16 months. I'm to the point where I am more than a day away from my home base which means use vacation to be off long enough to make the trips.

Cheers, Tom
 

Gilk51

2
Joined
Jan 14, 2005
Messages
17,293
Location
Arlington, Texas
First Name
Charles ("Chuck")
Last Name
Gibke
On the smaller towns & if I am by myself, I do like Janet does. However, if I am on a Pie Run or trip to a destination, I usually lay out the CH locations so that my ride-mates don't get too frustrated with it (they are usually gracious enough to put up with me leading anyway).

I use the Courthouses of Texas book - it gives cross-streets but occasionally has errors (like one town with two Main Streets) but is usually a good start, I look for the tall antenna towers, too.

Looks like there is a newer edition of the book available.
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2007
Messages
734
Location
Elgin, Texas
I have to agree that you find a lot of interesting things when you wander around trying to find the Courthouse, but it makes me curious. Wandering around takes me a lot of time, how many Courthouses do you try to get to in a day? How many Courthouses have you been to totally? Is there any plan to have been to them all in a certain time frame (2 years, 3 years, 4 years...)?

I think the most I've ever collected in one day was about 7 or 8. That was on a return trip from McAllen. Stopping to collect a courthouse photo is a time consuming process. No question about that. It probably adds about 20 minutes or so per stop as opposed to taking the loop around the town and continuing on.

All total I have about 165 including a number of the "retired" courthouses. There is no plan whatsoever to finish in any predetermined time frame. Whenever I finish... I finish. Progress has slowed considerably however, since most all of the ones I have left are outside of a days ride from home. I'm currently considering taking up moto-camping as a means of collecting the rest of them.

To answer the original question: I do use a GPS, and most of the time simply entering the town takes you to the courthouse. For larger cities where this sometimes isn't the case, I simply jot the address in a notebook I keep in the tankbag. Also most of the courthouses are already in my Garmin Nuvi under points of interest, community, courthouses.

Now is the start of courthouse "season," as soon the trees will be dropping leaves that oftentimes obscure the view of the courthouse itself. Also I find that early weekend mornings, particularly Sundays, are the best times to arrive because the square will most always be deserted and free of cars that clutter the pictures.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 24, 2008
Messages
116
Location
Dobbin, Tx.
First Name
Tom
Last Name
Neimeyer
Jerry,

Appreciate the answers and info. This week I start a swing out West Texas way, (Midland/Odessa) and hope to get 25-30 over the days I am out there.

Due to Courthouse restorations and other things, I will have to go back and redo some of the ones I have already taken. As you said, Fall/Winter is the best time to get pictures.

Cheers, Tom
 
Joined
Oct 3, 2008
Messages
538
Location
Texas
Well, I love this thread!
My visits take a little longer because I circle the downtown about a block out; that's where a lot of the fine old houses are.
Then I park and walk the courhouse square looking for a great photo. For me that means shooting through part of a tree or with an old column in the foreground.
Assuming I'm there on a weekday, then comes the real fun; is there a belltower or clocktower, and can I get in it?
I often do.
 
Joined
Apr 22, 2011
Messages
2,918
Location
McKinney, Texas
First Name
Gary
Last Name
Waugh
I make sure I don't get caught by the police, then I never need to visit/find the courthouse!:-P Hasn't worked so far (caught 3 times in 6 years! :oops:)

Gary
 
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