El Paso Has Its Very Own Lady Liberty In The County Courthouse
Unless you have broken the law or are getting a divorce, you might not have been to the El Paso County Courthouse. The courthouse in downtown El Paso is actually not the first courthouse. According to the El Paso County Historical Society website:
"Trost & Trost's 1917 El Paso County Courthouse was built in a horseshoe shape around the existing 1886 courthouse, which was then demolished and replaced by a 2,900-seat auditorium known as Liberty Hall. The building was stripped of its colonnade during a renovation and expansion project in 1955 and torn down in 1992 to make way for the current courthouse."
The original 1887 courthouse was incredibly intricate and it was atop this structure that the statue of Lady Liberty once stood. Unfortunately you can't see it in this photo, but I included it because it's hard to believe that something this spectacular once stood in downtown El Paso:
The Lady Justice statue did not take her place atop the 1917 Trost & Trost courthouse, nor was she part of the 1950s era project or even the 1992 complete rebuild of the courthouse we know now in downtown El Paso. Lady Justice wasn't treated very nicely even though she is only one of six known rare zinc statues of Lady Justice in existence.
Lady Justice was moved around in public spaces and eventually ended up in Ascarate Park, deteriorating and exposed to the elements and vandals. In 2007, Lady Justice underwent a $35,000 renovation and was placed atop a $75,000 pedestal in the lobby of the current courthouse that tells her story.
If you ever have to go to the courthouse, take a minute to marvel at the statue of Lady Liberty. She looks pretty good for someone who has been holding up the Scales of Justice for over 130 years. El Paso hasn't always been good about maintaining our architectural history but in this case we did and it was money well spent.