The Warren County Courthouse was erected 1867-1869 at a cost of $125,000. Designed by architect D.J. Williams, the structure incorporates elements from the Greek Revival and Italianate architectural styles.
This was the third courthouse for Warren County. The first was a log structure and the second a brick building, both located one block north on Fountain Square. In 1865, Warren County Fiscal Court decided to expand court and governmental facilities and selected the current site. Considered one of the finest in the commonwealth, the new three story courthouse was noted for its landmark clock tower and massive Corinthian columns handcrafted from local oolitic limestone.
Today, the courthouse exterior looks much as it did in 1869. The original Victorian iron fence with limestone posts encloses the courthouse grounds. Exterior alterations include replacement windows and the reconstruction of the cupola following fire damage in 1911 and 1930. Interior changes have been more dramatic. In the era before automobiles and modern asphalt, the courtroom was moved to the back of the building to alleviate street noise made by clattering horse hooves on Bowling Green's cobblestone streets. The courtroom was returned to its original location during a major interior renovation in 1957.
In addition to its
function as the seat of county government, the Warren County Courthouse served as the venue for interesting and unusual social activities. According to local legend, prominent lawyers frequently climbed the windows after dark to gather in the empty courtroom for midnight card games. For many years "County Court Day" attracted farmers and residents from Warren and surrounding counties to buy, sell, and socialize on the town square and courthouse grounds. If you look closely at the main wall of the building you will see many nails that were used to display event flyers and campaign posters. In the days before air-conditioning and voting machines, eager citizens would congregate outside the courthouse on election days to hear the latest results being yelled out the windows as the ballots were hand counted inside.
The Warren County Courthouse is listed on the National Register of historic Places and continued to be one of the most significant landmarks in Warren County.