History of Metro Hall Building

Holiday lights at Metro Hall in December

Louisville Metro Hall, formerly known as the Jefferson County Courthouse until the city-county merger in 2003, is the oldest governmental building in Jefferson County. It is the fifth to serve that function, all of which were located in the same 6th and Jefferson Street area.

Construction began in 1836, Envisioned by early Louisville civic leader James Guthrie (1792 – 1869)to serve as the new Kentucky state capital building, construction of the Greek Revival style structure began in 1836 as designed by Gideon Shryock (1802-1880), noted architect of the Old Statehouse in Frankfort and other buildings.

The financial panic of 1837 soon halted most work, with only the first floor completed and occupied by 1842. Work did not finish until 1859-60 from designs by Isaiah Rogers (1800 – 1869) under the direction of Albert Fink (1827-1897), known for his bridge and engineering works for the L&N Railroad - hence the use of iron for the grand staircase, as flooring over the rotunda on the second level and other features. 

From the early 1840’s until the completion of City Hall in 1873, it housed both city and county governments. Brinton B. Davis (1862-1952) oversaw an extensive remodeling effort after a fire caused severe damage in 1905. Today, the interior rooms have much the same appearance as they did in 1906 due to a renovation completed in 1981. In 1972, the structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

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