Standing watch over the town of Smithland for the past 165 years is the Livingston County, Kentucky courthouse. That may end, though, when the county clerk's office, the last of the county offices still in the courthouse, moves to a new building next door where the historic Dunn house was located before being demolished. Because of fears that the courthouse will suffer the same fate as the Dunn house, a movement has begun to save the old courthouse. Several meetings have been held to discuss possible uses for the old building.
When the seat of justice was moved to Smithland from Salem in 1842, the county court chose Preston Grace of Caldwell County to erect the building on the upper portion of out lot #7 on land owned by James Lillard. Opened in 1845, the courthouse has been the place to go to have deeds recorded, obtain marriage licenses and submit wills for probate for generations of families.
Below is the courthouse as it is today.
The interior shows the high ceilings and tall doors.
Inside the county clerk's office are deeds and loose county court papers in archival boxes.
Deeds are on the left, mortgages on the right and marriage records in the distance.
Ground has been broken for the new office building. It will contain the county clerk's office and other county offices plus a library. This photo is dated 17 June 2010.
Let's hope that the old courthouse will survive and continue to be a part of Livingston County - not only its past, but also its future.
Copyright on text and photographs
by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG
Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog