Located in the quaint town of Greensburg this historic Kentucky courthouse is one of the oldest buildings in the Blue Grass State and the oldest courthouse west of the Allegheny Mountains. The courthouse was erected in 1802 and was used for over a century. In 1928, a Green County judge began the movement to build a new courthouse. Part of his initial plan included the demolition of this historic structure. The citizens within Green County rallied to save the building through editorials, petitions, and letters in addition to a successful court injunction.
Within the historic town square of Greensburg, this building on the southeast quadrant replaced a previous courthouse that was constructed of logs and built right after the founding of
Green County in 1972. The courthouse is two stories high, constructed of locally sourced limestone, and has the dimensions
of 34’x40. In 1879 a bell was added, and in the 1930s rock
columns chains were constructed all the way around the perimeter of the lot
where the courthouse is located. A wooden floor replaced the original flagstone
floor and a stairway was relocated. In addition, fireplaces throughout the building have been plastered over.
Men enlisted and were mustered into service at this courthouse during the War of 1812. In 1832, Andrew Jackson was in Greensburg for a few days and filed a brief in this courthouse. The brief itself was maintained and preserved. However, in 1935 during the reorganization of records, the document was either stolen or misplaced. Ninian Edwards practiced law in this building and was of a friend of Abraham Lincoln and would go onto serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico.
Hammer” Metcalfe, a stonemason who later became the tenth Governor
of Kentucky built the structure. Metcalfe served as a Captain during the War of 1812 and became a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives as well as the U.S. House of Representatives.
As a member of the U.S. Congress, he also was the chairman of the Committee on
Indian Affairs and the Committee on Militia.
Metcalfe was a member of the Whig party and supported infrastructure developments that were then referred to as internal improvements. For example, he supported the construction of a canal in Louisville and the creation of the railroad between Lexington and
Cincinnati as well as the Lexington/Maysville Turnpike. Metcalfe served as Governor from 1834 to 1838.
On June 23, 1848, Metcalfe filled the U.S. Senate seat
that was vacated when Mr. John Crittenden went on to serve as U.S. Attorney
General. Other works by Mr. Metcalfe include the old Governor’s Mansion in
Frankfort as well as the West Union Presbyterian Church located in West
Union, OH. Thomas “Stone Hammer”
Metcalfe passed away in August of 1855 due to cholera.
This historic building was almost lost on more than one occasion. During the Civil War, General Hylan B. Lyon was en route to
Greensburg with orders to destroy the courthouse when he caught word that Union Colonel Moore was in Greensburg to protect the structure and town. Lyon instead went to neighboring Campbellsville
where his men set fire to the courthouse in that community on December 25, 1864.