The current federal courthouse in Marshall was built as the city's post office in 1915. Since its construction it has undergone three major renovations. The most recent, in 2006, added a new wing to the back, which added new judicial chambers for the district judge upstairs and a visiting judge's courtroom downstairs, as well as providing a visiting judge's chambers, also downstairs. Prior to that, the building was converted from a post office to a courthouse in 1964.
But the most significant work done on the building occurred in 1940, when the then-25 year old building was doubled in size by the addition of a massive expansion on the south side. David Provines with the clerk's office in Tyler just discovered the attached photos from that renovation, and I thought readers might be interested in them.
First of all, he discovered this photo of the original post office lobby. The layout here is a new one, though - it doesn't match the original floor plans, which had the postmaster's office enjoying the large window at the end of the hall, so it appears there was a major reworking of the original floor plan at this time. The photo to the bottom left indicates as much, as it shows the windows being taken out - in fact this may be when the original 2 over 2 windows shown in the postcard at top left were replaced with the smaller-paned windows.
The large four-bay window on the west wall of the workroom (shown better on one of the lower photos) was also completely demolished - replaced with two windows, as shown by the "after" photo also below. The addition added three matching windows on the west side, of which we now know the first has always been "blind".
The below left photo is notable for one other thing - if you look closely, you'll see that the signs indicate that the building is at the corner of Highway 80 and Highways 59 and 43.
Those with sharp eyes will note that that intersection is now about two miles northeast of the square. Until the 1950's, US 80 and US 59 intersected on the square in Marshall as Houston Street and Washington Avenue. (If you grew up in Texas the names of the streets will make perfect sense - US patriots run north south and Texas patriots east/west). As part of highway improvements, in the 1950's, US 80 was moved four blocks north, and US 59/43 two miles to the east, where it runs under the 1937 railroad bridge and heads north to Jefferson, and northeast to Karnack and Uncertain.
The photos of the back of the building are the most dramatic, as they show the building while the foundations of the addition were being prepared, and then later when the basement's stone walls were going up. Comparing the original floor plan, I believe that the interior wall shown is a temporary one to enclose the work room after the large windows in the south wall were taken out, and the steel beams shown exposed were the outside of the original building, and are now the outside wall of the main courtroom. The current district courtroom occupies essentially the footprint of the original workroom which ran from behind the post office counter to the back of the original building.
The second photo at right shows the basement stone walls almost complete.