The first Cameron County Courthouse was built in 1882 by well-known local architect Samuel Brooks.
It served the county until 1914, after a new structure was built in 1912, now known as the Dancy Courthouse, was done by the Texas State Architect, who designed the Texas State Office Building in Austin.
“The architecture in itself is classic revival, they don’t build buildings like this anymore by any means,” said Eugene Fernandez, Commissioner of Cameron County Historical Commission.
The same detail he gave to that building can be seen in the Dancy Courthouse, making it one of the most beautifully and architecturally significant County courthouses in Texas.
“The structure is exactly the way it was, preserved lovingly as it was back in 1914,” Fernandez said.
The building got its name from Judge Oscar Dancy, who moved to Brownsville in 1909. Years later he was elected county judge, a position he would hold for fifty years.
Among his accomplishments, is developing the county concrete highway system, playing an instrumental part in the development of the 1944 Water Agreement between the US and Mexico, carrying negotiations for the building of dams, heading up the County’s part in building the first causeway to South Padre Island.
“All the old concrete highways that you see throughout the county, those were Oscar Dancy’s legacy his name was Oscar Cromwell Dancy, Oscar C Dancy, but they dubbed him Oscar C. ‘Concrete’ Dancy,” he said.
He was admired by many people, including the President of the United States. With President Truman calling him the “Texas Judge” when Dancy went to the Oval Office.
But despite his monumental work for roads and transportation, Dancy never owned or drove a car. Opting to walk to work every day, at the building that is now named after him.
Judge Oscar Dancy also helped orchestrate the creation of the Padre Island National Seashore.