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Rhea County

Rhea County is named for John Rhea, who was a United States Representative in Congress.


Surrounding County Courthouses: 

N – Cumberland and Roane County

E – Meigs County

S – Hamilton County

W – Bledsoe County


Created:  November 30, 1807                Map of Tennessee highlighting Rhea County

County Seat: 

Washington   1807 – 1890

Dayton           1890 – present


County Courthouse – Dayton 


Location:  1475 Market Street / 3rd Avenue

Built:  1890 – 1891

Style:  Italianate

Architect:  W Chamberlin & Company of Knoxville

Contractor:  William Dowling and J R Taylor of Chattanooga


Description:  The building faces southeast and is a three story red colored brick structure. The building is located on the spacious landscaped grounds of the Courthouse Square in the center of Dayton. The building is rectangular shaped measuring 70 feet by 120 feet with a limestone base. On the east corner is a high square tower with round cupola with conical roof. In the interior,the first story is bisected kengthwise by an east-west cirridor dominated by a open-well wooden staircase rising to the second story central hall. The spaceous high-ceiling courtroom with plaster walls painted green color on the lower portion and off-white on the upper portion. The juge’s bench is against the north wall. The building houses the County Circuit Court, County Chancery Court, County General Sessions Court – Civil, Criminal and Probate and County Juvenile and Family Court of the 12th Judicial District. The building was restored in 1978 to 1979. The architect was Franklin Group Architects of Chattanooga and the contractor was Vickers Construction Company of Knoxville.


See:  The architect, W Chamberlin & Company of Knoxville, designed courthouses in Cumberland CountyFentress County, Gibson County and Morgan County.


See:  National Register of Historic Places – Rhea County Courthouse


See:  The 12th Judicial District includes Bledsoe County, Franklin CountyGrundy CountyMarion County and Sequatchie County.


History:  The county was created in 1807 and Washington was selected as the county seat. The first courthouse was built in Washington in 1807. The county seat was moved to Dayton in 1890. The second and present courthouse was constructed in 1890 to 1891 and was the venue for the Scopes Trial in 1925 for the teaching of Darwin’s theory of evolution.


County Courthouse Annex – Dayton 



Location:  375 Church Street / 3rd Avenue

Built:  Unknown

Style:  Modern

Architect:  Unknown

Contractor:  Unknown


Description:  The building faces south east and is a three story red colored brick, glass and concrete structure. The building is located in the center of Dayton to the south east of the courthouse.  The southeast front has concrete columns and recessed glass walls on the first story. The second and third stories has glass panel walls. The roof line is flat. There is a meeting room on the second story. The building was purchased by the County in 1997 and is named as the Rhea County Courthouse Annex – Phil Swafford Building. 



County Courthouse – Dayton









































County Courthouse Annex – Dayton











Photos taken 2012, 2014 and 2018