Jefferson County Court House (ca. 1845)
When you to visit historic downtown Dandridge, one of the first landmarks you would see would be the Jefferson County courthouse. Built in 1845 for $6,666, it is one of Tennessee's oldest county courthouses that is still in use today. The beautiful courthouse replaced an old log building that was being used for the same purpose, and has been viewed as a county symbol ever since. It even served as the Chamber of Commerce's logo for many years. The two-story structure is built in the Greek Revival style and entails such things as; hand-made bricks, a wooden cupola, and a unique roof made entirely without nails. The fact that the courthouse still stands strong today proves the craftsmanship and skill of the time period were superior to other methods used.
Since 1957, the courthouse also serves as a free museum filled with countless artifacts. Because the courthouse has been kept in perfect shape, documents dating back as far as 1792 are intact. Items consist of; Davy Crockett's original marriage license to Polly Finley, civil war guns, bullets, and uniforms, as well as a large variety of American Indian tools and weapons. There are even artifacts within the museum describing that the courthouse has even served as a hospital during the civil war.
In the 1940's, the construction of Douglas Dam brought on a whole new scare to Dandridge. The town below would be flooded if the government did not intervene and save the main street and downtown areas. Due to an outcry from the community, President Roosevelt placed executive orders to build a dike that would keep the lake from overflowing into the city below. Because the town was saved, an expansion took place, creating new room for growth in county government and services that have shaped Dandridge to be the wonderful town it is today.
The courthouse stands proudly as both a historic and monumental piece of the past. It stands for both the togetherness of county as well as the growth that has taken place over the years, which have both allowed Dandridge to prosper throughout the years.