Historic Roane County Courthouse

Located at 119 Court Street in Kingston, the Historic Roane County Courthouse, known as the state's "capital for a day," is one of only seven remaining antebellum courthouses in the state and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.   It is home to a museum and archive library.  The  Roane County Archives Library has become the premier genealogical and historical research center for the area.   It contains court documents dating back to 1802 as well as books and historical documents from the prehistoric era to World War II. The Roane County Museum of History displays Roane County and state artifacts. 

On September 21, 1807, Kingston was Tennessee's state capital for one day. The Tennessee General Assembly convened in Kingston that day due to an agreement with the Cherokee, who had been told that if the Cherokee Nation ceded the land that is now Roane County, Kingston would become the capital of Tennessee. After adjourning that day, the Assembly resumed meeting in Knoxville. (Source: Wikipedia).

A combined Greek Revivalist and Federalist style, it was built from 1854 to 1855 by architect Augustus Fisher and designer Fredrick B. Guenther, using native lumber and bricks made on the site by slaves.  No nails were used in the original structure.  

The courthouse is home to the Roane County Archives Library, becoming the premier genealogical and historical research center for the area.   It contains court documents dating back to 1802 as well as books and historical documents from the prehistoric era to World War II.  It also houses the Roane County Museum of History displaying Roane County and state artifacts.

The building was the active courthouse of Roane County until 1974 when the new courthouse was completed and the old courthouse was deeded to the Roane County Heritage Commission. An annual gala is held every September to raise money to help repair and preserve this magnificent building.

The building was used in the civil war by both confederates and union as a hospital. Graffiti can be found on the walls written by soldiers who were hospitalized.  One false story told about the building are hangings taking place in the cupola of the building. This is totally "FALSE."  By law a hanging had to be made public, so gallows were built in the yard.  The gallows in the building are purely for exhibit.

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Location

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Nearby
Latitude: 35.8720641 Longitude: -84.5159769 Elevation: 764 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Pam May

Hours Open

8:30 am - 6 pm Monday; 8:30 am - 4:30pm Tuesday-Friday

Time Period Represented

Monday - Friday

Seasons Open

Year Round

Visitor Fees

Free

ADA Accessibility Notes

No

Pet Friendly Notes

No pets allowed

How to Get There

I-40 Kingston exit #352, turn right onto Hwy 58 South/Kentucky Street.  Go about 4 blocks - courthouse is on the left between E. Cumberland St. and Court Street.  For parking next to the building turn onto E. Cumberland St.  The address for the courthouse is 119 Court Street, Kingston.

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