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Corpus Christi's most famous haunted building for sale

The Old Nueces County Courthouse sits behind a chain-link fence to keep out vandals and ghost hunters. The 102-year-old building is believed to be haunted. Photo courtesy TAMU-CC archives

A 102-year-old haunted fixer-up, the old Nueces County Courthouse will soon be for sale. County commissioners voted to overturn a 2011 decision to have the building demolished then approved a motion to list the properly for sale. Both votes happened at a recent commission meeting, where it was also decided to give the listing to Joe Adame & Associates.

Surrounded by a chain-link fence in an attempt to keep out vandals and ghost hunters, the building is listed as a state antiquities landmark by the Texas Historical Commission. Because the THC granted money to help restore the south wing in 2002, it maintains a hold on what happens to the property. It cannot be torn down until at least 2027, according to the history commission.

Built in 1914, the building has not served as a courthouse since 1977, when it was abandoned for the current courthouse on Leopard Street. The council spends about $3,000 a year to maintain the property, although that increased to $15,000 one year because of vandalism. Most of the money is spent on maintaining the grounds.

Haunted by history

Numerous criminals were sentenced and hanged inside the Old Nueces County Courthouse. Law-abiding residents still among the living claim the spirits of the executed reside within the courthouse walls.

The hanged are not the only lost spirits claimed to be trapped in the abandoned building. In the aftermath of the 1919 hurricane that devastated the city, the building’s basement served as a morgue for hundreds of bodies. The courthouse was a haven for those trying to escape the storm’s rage. The sturdy structure withstood the worst storm to ever hit the area.

One infamous story from the early 1900s tells of a teenage boy who visited the execution room on the top floor on Halloween night. While examining a piece of bloodied rope, the boy was supposedly pushed out of a window by an unknown soul, meeting his death on the pavement below. Photographers have claimed that strange orbs appear in their photos of the building. People also claim to hear screams and voices.

The cost of restoring the building is estimated at $40 million. Anyone who purchases the property will have to pay $1.5 million in back taxes. State and federal tax credits would be available, however, to possibly offset that cost.

If it doesn’t sell, the county could let it sit for the next 11 years before tearing it down. Demolition costs are estimated at $3 million.

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