History: This most handsome and dignified of public buildings in Fredericksburg, the McDermott Building, housing Pioneer Memorial Library, began life as Gillespie County's second courthouse in 1882. County commissioners offered a prize of $50 for the best design. Advertisements were placed in the San Antonio and Austin papers. Of the two designs entered, commissioners chose the one submitted by Alfred Giles of San Antonio, one of the finest architects working in Texas during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Other local examples of his work include a two-story rock home at 110 North Bowie and the former Bank of Fredericksburg - "the cupola building" - in the middle of the 100 block of East Main. Giles also designed several other Texas courthouses and many other residences and buildings in Texas and Mexico. "Symmetrical" is a good word to describe the formal balance of Giles' design. The north and south sides are alike, as are the east and west sides, each with a porch to match the one on the opposing side. East and west sides have matching chimneys on the roof. Louvered ventilating dormers are on all six gable openings. The south porch has been partially enclosed to provide for mechanical and storage space. This beautiful building served as Gillespie County Courthouse until August 16, 1939, when the present courthouse was dedicated. During the following years many organizations and agencies used the space for meeting rooms, offices and storage. At one time, City of Fredericksburg offices were located here. Gradually it fell into disuse until 1963, when the structure was condemned and occupied only by bats, pigeons and an occasional drifter.