We love the Smoky Mountains. Wish you were here!

The Old Courthouse — Bryson City’s Iconic Image


Constructed in 1908 and used by the County until 1980, the historic Swain County Courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

The building was designed by Frank Pierce Milburn and R. S. Smith. Milburn was a prolific architect of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries who designed major public buildings in almost every southern state. His work ranged from county courthouses to state capitols, including the South Carolina State House and the old Florida Capitol. Smith worked in Asheville, first with Richard Morris Hunt at Biltmore Village, and then independently.

Falls City Construction Company, of Louisville, Kentucky, built the structure in just six months, at a cost of approximately $35,000. Records show the commissioners authorized the company to get “a tower clock with metal Bell for a cost of $850”.

Today, the first floor is used as a senior center by the State of Franklin Services. And yes, the clock and bell still work.

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