Henry County was organized in 1834 and Napoleon became the county seat in 1835. The first Court was held in a two-story log cabin located at the corner of Perry and Front Streets.
The first Courthouse was a plain two-story structure costing $2,000. It was constructed in 1844 and destroyed by fire in 1847, with all records lost.
The second Courthouse was of brick, in the Federal Style. It was built in 1849-50 on the present site for $7,495. In 1879 the Courthouse, along with twenty-two other buildings, were destroyed in the "Dutch Row" fire. Records were saved.
Architect David Gibbs designed the present Courthouse in the Empire Style. It was built of limestone and locally made brick at a cost of $95,000. The cornerstone was laid on July 10, 1880, and the building was completed in 1882. The fifteen foot 'Goddess of Justice' tops the clock tower. Names of the 1880 county commissioners Charles Horning, Daniel Yarnell, and Rueben Reiter are cast on the tower bell.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places