Colbert County Courthouse

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Colbert County Courthouse


Courthouses; Tuscumbia, Alabama, Colbert County, Alabama


Colbert County was established in 1867, fourteen years before the courthouse was built. Commissioners met at a local hotel called The Horn House while the probate judge’s office was located on the second floor of a brick building on Main Street in Tuscumbia. On March 7, 1870, an election took place to decide if Cherokee or Tuscumbia would be the permanent county seat. Tuscumbia would go on to win by a vote of 1367 to 794. On December 13, 1880, the county spent $2,000 and bought four lots in downtown Tuscumbia from Colonel J.F. Deshler. These lots would soon provide the location of the Colbert County Courthouse.

Construction of the courthouse began on August 22, 1881. The architect chosen was a man named Mr. Edward Laurent of Nashville. Mr. William Dowling of Chattanooga was awarded the contract for the construction of the courthouse. Mr. Hornung was chosen to be the contractor for the laying the stone foundation. In the northern part of town, workers were expected to produce about 500,000 bricks for building material. This two-storied Italianate styled structure was finished by May of 1882 for a cost of $14,750. The building served the county well until a fire gutted the structure on May 14, 1908. With most of the brick walling undamaged, the county created a “special courthouse tax” to fund the reconstruction. This new Neo-Classical Revival styled courthouse was completed in 1909. Since then, a north wing has been added in 1948. Also, a $2,000,000 architecturally compatible west wing was built in 1975.


John Grissom, University of North Alabama


Gamble, Robert. "Colbert County Courthouse Square Historic District." In Historic Muscle Shoals: Buildings and Sites., 43-44. Vol. 10. Florence, Ala.: Tennessee Valley Historical Society, 1983.

Graves, Arthur D. Tuscumbia: America's First Frontier Railroad Town. Tuscumbia, Ala.: Tuscumbia Main Street Project [and] Preservation Incentive Project, 1989. 23-24.


Alabama Cultural Resource Survey


November 24, 2015