The Old Courthouse

By Ralphine Major

It was once the center of activity in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee. The Old Knox County Courthouse located on the corner of Gay Street and Main once housed the courts and offices of elected government officials.

When I started working for Attorneys Zane Daniel (deceased) and John J. Duncan, Jr., in the early seventies, I became familiar with “the Courthouse.” It seems unbelievable now, but during those days there were no computers or cell phones for communication. A few years later, the City-County Building was constructed. Its spacious and sprawling design allowed room for many city and county offices to be located in one building. This arrangement helped alleviate cramped quarters in City Hall and the Knox County Courthouse.

Some offices still remain in the Old Courthouse. The City-County Building is now nearly 40 years old and sits in a prime location near the banks of the Tennessee River. Certain vantage points from the streamlined structure provide breathtaking views of the Tennessee River and Knoxville skyline. But there is something about the Old Courthouse that cannot be duplicated in buildings of the modern era. The old red brick building has a certain architectural charm about it, and it is a wealth of history. Indeed, the Old Courthouse is a Knoxville treasure.

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