The Rutherford County Courthouse is one of the most historic places in Tennessee. It is one of only six remaining antebellum courthouses in the state. This is the same site on which the original courthouse was built in 1813 (it burned down in 1822). The site also served at the State Capitol from 1818 to 1826 when Nashville regained the title.
The Courthouse came close to being destroyed three different times in the 1900s. The first one being in 1937 when the citizens said it would be too costly to renovate, but the involvement in World War II stalled the demolition. In 1959 local citizens convinced the county court to just remodel the building. Finally, in the late 1970s, the county court needed more space, but instead of remodeling, they built a new judicial building in a new location. The courthouse also survived a tornado that hit Murfreesboro in 1913 with only minor damage. The wings were added to the courthouse by 1962 and the interior was renovated in 1998 to better reflect the courthouse’s 19th-century origins. In 1973, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places preventing it from being torn down in the future.
The Courthouse also played a role in the Civil War as headquarters for both Union and Confederate troops. Nathan Bedford Forrest’s troops (Confederates) occupied the area from July 1862 until the conclusion of the Battle of Stones River in January of 1863. It then served as the headquarters of the occupying Union forces in the area until the end of the Civil War. Because of this, many memorials have been added around the grounds. Some include two plaques in memory of General Forrest’s raid (1912), a Confederate soldier’s monument (1901), one dedicated to Revolutionary War General Griffith Rutherford(1946), a memorial dedicated to law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, and a memorial to veterans of foreign wars.