Anne and Aaron at the re-dedication of the La Salle County Courthouse.
We all feel some kind of love for a certain place (or places). That’s why we’re preservationists. So what happens when two preservationists fall in love? In the case of one Texas couple, meeting each other launched a commitment to celebrating the places they love together -- by visiting all the historic courthouses across the Lone Star State.
I talked with Anne Cornell shortly after she and her fiancé, Aaron Mason, attended the Comal County Courthouse celebration, which was one of the first events in our “I Love Texas Courthouses” campaign. Having just completed their courthouse journey on December 1, 2012, their tale of Texas love is inspiring in more ways than one.
Anne Cornell and Aaron Mason at the Comal County Courthouse celebration in New Braunfels, Texas.
How did the two of you meet?
Aaron is from Austin and I’m from El Paso. We met online -- twice. The first time, in 2008, the timing was wrong, but the second time, in 2010, we hit it off right away!
What inspired you to visit all of the courthouses?
My parents started it, but only saw about 30 before they moved to Colorado. Aaron and I went to La Grange in December 2011 to see the lights and saw the courthouse while we were there. I told Aaron about my parents and how they started to visit them all, and he said, “Let’s do that!”
Ellis County Courthouse in Waxahachie, Texas. One of Anne and Aaron's favorite courthouses, and where they are planning to get married.
When did you decide that you wanted to get married in one of the courthouses?
We were halfway (exactly) through the courthouses when Aaron proposed, and at that point we knew we wanted to get married in one of them. We have chosen Waxahachie’s in which to get married. Our courthouse journey perfectly mirrors our courtship, so deciding to get married in a courthouse was a no-brainer for us!
Why do you think Texas courthouses are so loved?
I think people love them because they represent the county, sometimes as a reflection of better times, sometimes as a reflection of current prosperity. Either way, I think they inspire hope.
Anne and Aaron's other favorite courthouse, Old Harrison County Courthouse, in Marshall, Texas.
What would you say is one of the most important reasons Texas courthouses need to be preserved?
Because they are a reflection of an area’s history. It’s always fun to me to drive into a tiny town that I’ve never heard of, and discover an amazing courthouse. Once upon a time, that town and county were booming, enough to build a grandiose building. It’s a reminder that things change -- the way things are now aren’t how they’ve always been.
Do you consider yourself a preservationist?
I do consider myself a preservationist. In addition to being an elementary school art teacher, I have a background in museums as well, so I understand the importance of preserving special things and places for the benefit of the future.
Do you have a romantic preservation story to share? We’d love to hear it!