Jefferson was chosen as the first county seat in Greene County. The Thomas Phillips Building served as the first home for county officers. In 1856, a primitive frame courthouse was built for $1,825.
In 1870, a second courthouse was completed for a cost of $37,000. This brick building had an elegant courtroom and a bell in the cupola that called court, curfew, and served as a fire alarm. The courthouse was renovated and updated with electric lights, water and telephones in the early 1890's.
The third and present courthouse is a three-story Bedford stone building that is located in the center of the business district of Jefferson. The impressive building has a central rotunda that allows light to shine on the 14 foot mosaic tile reproduction of the official seal of Greene County. Four murals, painted by William Peaco, adorn the ceiling of the dome. They are titled "The Buffalo Hunt", "The Emigrants", "The Pioneer", and "The Modern Farm". The courthouse was dedicated in 1917 and cost $200,000 to build.
In 1918, the Abe Lincoln Monument was dedicated on the courthouse grounds. Another addition to the grounds came in 1966 when the Mahanay Memorial Tower was dedicated. This 165 foot tower with a reflecting pool contains four bells. The bells were specially made in the Netherlands for the $350,000 tower.