The seat of county government was originally established at Fort Harmony from 1856 until 1859. It was then moved to the city of Washington until 1863 when St. George became the County Seat. By 1866, work had begun on the Washington County Courthouse, a large and stately building with a balcony and a cupola.
The beautifully restored building still stands across the street north and one clock east of here. Construction on the courthouse proceeded concurrently with construction of the tabernacle one block south of here. The same craftsmen who worked on the tabernacle also worked on the courthouse which was completed in 1870.
This building was originally to be built of dressed sandstone rocks, but due to the great number of men required to raise the walls of the tabernacle, the plan was changed to lime and brick which were manufactured locally. The three basement rooms were used as a jail. The first floor was arranged as county government offices, and the second floor had a large assembly room which was used, not only as a courtroom, but for government functions, civic group meetings, political gatherings, socials, dances and school classrooms.
A walk through the pioneer courthouse reveals 18 inch thick interior walls, some panes of original glass alongside the entrance doors, beautiful chandeliers, original paintings of Zion Canyon and Grand Canyon on the upstairs walls, and an early day security vault.
The fact that the courthouse is still a key center of activity in downtown St. George, is a testiment to the quality of workmanship that existed among Dixie's early master builders.