The Ellis County Courthouse is one of the most famous buildings in the Southwest. The building was the creation of architect J.Riely Gordon following the Richardsonian Romanesque Style made popular by Boston architect Henry Hobson Richardson. Totally restored in 2002 the building was originally constructed in 1895 and completed on July 4, 1897. Ft. Worth architect Marshal Sanguinet was consultant and construction supervisor on the project. Theodore Beiharz and his team of German stone carvers completed the intricate stone carvings throughout the courthouse.
Now......here's the love scorned tale.......
Apparently the main stone carver for the project was a man named Harry Herley. He fell madly in love with a young woman named Mabel Frame. Her grandmother owned the local boarding house where Herley stayed while completing his work. Herley carved portraits of Ms. Frame on the exterior of the courthouse. You can see from the pictures above....she has a pleasant, sweet face.
Unfortunately for Harry, Mabel Frame did not return his affections.
Unfortunately for Mabel, Harry Herley left his displeasure for all to see carved in stone all around the courthouse. Sweet Mabel became Mabel the Gargoyle.........I can't help but think of Lot's wife in the Bible being turned into a pillar of salt!
Not only was Harry displeased with Mabel, he became perturbed with the townspeople as well. Did no one excape his wrath?????
No one knows the truth of this story.......Was there really a love affair gone wrong between Harry Herley and Mable Frame?????? There is no actual documentation of the romance.......and, later, Harry Herley married a Miss Minnie Hodges. Whatever the truth may be, the story of Harry and Mabel has lingered to this day.