Weatherford Democrat

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November 13, 2013

A model life

Courthouse brings builder out of the woodwork

By JUDY SHERIDAN

Weatherford native Don Huddleston, 77, stepped into the pages of Parker County’s history in 1994 when he unveiled a remarkable tribute to the Parker County Courthouse, an intricate replica built without benefit of blueprint or kit.

Dedicated to his mother, Lucy, whose final breath is recorded in the hands of the clock tower, the engaging miniature is a masterpiece crafted by a master tinkerer — from the authentic-looking rockwork at its base to the tiny owl perched at the top, frightening off the pigeons.

“I started with a board and worked up,” Huddleston said modestly of the 19 months of painstaking effort that will one day be his legacy. “I tried to put every detail into it.”

Initially displayed in the front window of First Citizens’ Bank, Huddleston’s model has been relegated to the Courthouse Annex for more than 20 years at the request of its maker, who worried that the present courthouse — erected in 1884 — might go the way of its predecessors — up in smoke.

“That was my stipulation,” Huddleston said. “The courthouse hadn’t been remodeled, and the wiring was old. I didn’t want the two of them together.

“If everything was gone, all we’d have left would be the pictures.”

As county officials prepared for courthouse tours this spring, however, they managed to wheedle Huddleston into temporarily giving the model center stage at the courthouse, where it now beckons visitors like a jewel in a crown.

Like the real courthouse, it will be decorated for Christmas this year.

Public Information Officer Joel Kertok said the resourceful Huddleston, who answered when the call for old photos for the tours went up, has been “a huge help in Judge Riley’s effort to promote awareness of the courthouse and rally community support.”

Kertok and Huddleston met while volunteering at the Weatherford Senior Center, then grew close as Huddleston worked to collect and frame most of the courthouse pictures displayed on the courthouse tours.

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