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Swain County

Swain County is named for David Lowry Swain, who was a governor of North Carolina ad president of the University of North Carolina.


Surrounding County Courthouses: 

N – Blount County, Tennesse and Sevier County, Tennessee

E – Haywood County and Jackson County

S – Macon County and Graham County

W – Graham County


Created:  1871                                        Map of North Carolina highlighting Swain County

County Seat: 

Chatham      1871 -1872

Bryson City  1872 – present


County Courthouse – Bryson City 


Location:  101 Mitchell Street / Slope Street

Built:  1980 – 1982

Style:  Modern

Architect:  Nichols, Carter, Seay / Grant Architects

Contractor:  Wilkie Construction Company, Inc.


Description:  The building faces north and is a one story brown colored brick and concrete structure. The building is located on landscaped grounds in the center of Bryson City. The north front forms a ”V” shape with the entrance in the center and with glass panels above. The orange colored roof is hipped. The building houses the County Superior Court and County District Court of the 30th Judicial District. 


Old County Courthouse – Bryson City 



Location:  4 Everett Street / Main Street

Built:  1908 – 1909

Style:  Classical Revival

Architect:  Frank P Milburn of Washington, D.C. and Richard Sharp Smith

Contractor:  Falls City Construction Company of Louisville, Kentucky


Description:  The building faces southwest and is a two story white colored stucco and concrete structure. The building is located on landscaped grounds in the center of Bryson City to the west of the courthouse. The southwest front has a large portico supported by four Ionic columns rising to a wide pediment at the roof line. The sides has projecting center sections rising to a pediment at the roof line. On the center of the roof is an octagonal dome with clock and red colored roof at the top. In the interior, the building has a transverse hall plan and the former courtroom is located on the second story. Most of the finishing details are intact and include a pressed tin ceiling with a classical egg and dart crown mold pattern and plain board door surrounds in the courtroom. 


Note:  The cost of construction of the courthouse was approximately $35,000. The commissioners authorized the purchase of “a tower clock with metal bell for a cost of $850.00” for the new courthouse.


See:  The architect Frank Pierce Milburn of Washington, DC. and  the contractor Falls City Construction Company of Louisville, Kentucky.


See:  National Register of Historic Places – Swain County Courthouse


See:  The 30th Judicial District includes Cherokee County, Clay County, Graham CountyHaywood County, Jackson County and  Macon County.


History:  The county was created in 1871 and Bryson City was selected as the county seat in 1872. The first court was held in a log cabin at Chatham five miles west of Bryson City (Charlestown). The first courthouse was a log and plank structure erected in Bryson City in 1872. The courthouse burned in 1879 and the second courthouse was a brick structure designed by D K Collins and built by Thaddius Dillard in 1880. The courthouse burned in 1907. The third courthouse was constructed in 1908 to 1909 and is still standing. The fourth and present courthouse was constructed in 1980 to 1982.



County Courthouse – Bryson City











Old County Courthouse – Bryson City







Photos taken 2012