MASON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — State lawmakers approved $6 million in funding to restore the Mason County Courthouse, which burned down after being targeted by an accused arsonist in early February of this year.
The courthouse caught fire at 10 p.m., February 4, and by 1:30 a.m. it had been reduced to its outer rock wall. The man suspected of starting the fire, Nicholas Miller, was caught and charged with arson and burglary of a building. In an interview shortly after the fire, Mason County Judge Jerry Bearden said that the act of violence was a “gut punch,” but that the county residents were resilient and would rebuild.
State Rep. Andrew Murr (R-Junction) visited the courthouse earlier this month. In a press release, Murr explained why he helped lead the charge to obtain funding for the courthouses’ restoration.
“The loss of the Mason County Courthouse is a heartbreaking tragedy that shocked Mason County and folks all across Texas,” Murr said. “Many of us viewed it as an attack on the judicial branch of government – and an attempt to ignore the rule of law. Fortunately, no unlawful act will shut down our courts.”
The courthouse had already received a Courthouse Restoration Grant in 2020 from the Texas Historical Commission’s Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program to fully restore the courthouse. The $6 million, which Murr and others in the House and Senate obtained, will work in conjunction with this previous award.
Murr believes the money will make the courthouse a “focal point” of the Mason County community once again.
“The secured funds will provide for future generations to enjoy the building and will ensure the courthouse has an opportunity to continue to serve as a symbol of the community’s history and future,” Murr said in the press release.