“We urge area schools to take advantage of the museum’s availability. On the northwest corner of the Courthouse Square in Eastland is a top-notch teaching facility dedicated to explaining an important part of our Texas judicial system. As an added bonus, the museum also pays tribute to one of the finest judges ever to sit on the bench, Judge Austin McCloud,” Williamson added.
Completed several years ago, the Austin McCloud Appellate Court Museum contains numerous interesting exhibits explaining the functions of the court and how it came to be located in Eastland instead of Abilene or Midland-Odessa. Exhibits also explain fascinating facts about famous Eastland based court cases, such as the 1927 case of the Santa Claus bank robber. and the life – personal and professional – of Judge McCloud, who served on the court from 1971 to 2007. The first twenty-three years he served as Chief Justice of the Court, and the last twelve years he served as Senior Justice (Retired).
A recent museum visitor was retired Appellate Court Justice, Terry McCall. “It was a real honor for me to serve on the court from 1999 to 2013, especially serving with Judge McCloud. He was an outstanding judge who many wanted to see appointed to the Texas Supreme Court. Luckily for all of us, he was content to stay with the 11th Court of Appeals and had no interest in moving to Austin. Not only was he an excellent Chief Justice, he is my dear friend and one of the finest persons I have ever known. This museum offers a wonderful opportunity for anyone, especially students, to learn about our judicial system,” McCall concluded.
Retired Chief Justice Jim R. Wright of Eastland heartily agrees. He says, “It is a well-deserved tribute to an exceptional jurist and a great man.”
There is no admission fee and the museum is open from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Special group tours may be arranged by calling 254-631-1216.