Historic Mason County Courthouse burns

Fire ravages historic Mason County Courthouse believed to be due to arson last week.

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Historic Mason County Courthouse burns

Gravity honoring time

My friend, Russell Smith, once wrote that San Angelo used to be a rather ‘innocent’ town, until a murder took place there back in, I think, the 1980s. Russell’s contention was that the murder changed the town, and the way the people of San Angelo viewed the world. He was probably right, considering his long experience as a law enforcement officer. And now I’m wondering if the same kind of thing will happen to Mason, after the events of last week.

The Mason County courthouse has been an icon and landmark all my life. Built in 1909- 1910, it was a beautiful, solid link to an older time, a time when people sealed business deals with a handshake, and most folks came to town once a week, usually on a horse or in a buggy or wagon. A time when people lived close to the land, and stood on principle. A time of self-reliance and rugged individualism. And now that old courthouse is pretty much gone.

Last Thursday evening someone set fire to two houses in Mason, and then lit up the courthouse. The fire was epic, and as I watched videos of the destruction on my computer, I thought back to the bi-monthly meetings when I served on the Mason Volunteer Fire Dept., when we would discuss how we would approach fighting a fire in the courthouse. It was a scenario we all dreaded, because the logistics made a quick knock-down pretty much impossible. Past a certain point, a fire in such a building is unstoppable, regardless of equipment, water, and personnel available.







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