Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Historic Clay County Courthouse

In 2023 the Clay County Courthouse will turn 150 years old.


Since its completion in the fall of 1873, the Historic Clay County Courthouse has been the centerpiece of the county and the public square the county seat of Celina.

Until recent years, county business and the courts were conducted in the second floor courtroom, while the first floor offices served the daily needs of Clay County’s citizens.

Whittlers sat in the shade of the courthouse, and community celebrations and remembrances were held on the courthouse square. Many a young couple started their married life in this courthouse, and it was also a favorite stopping point for dignitaries traveling though the Tennessee Upper Cumberland.


Courthouse History

Built in 1873, the Historic Clay County Courthouse has a rich history and notable architecture.

Click to read more.

Rolley Hole Marbles

The traditional Clay County game of Rolley Hole will soon be honored with its own museum in the historic courthouse as it as it continues to gain popularity.

Learn more about it.


Special Events

A series of special events is being planned for the courthouse that celebrates history, music, arts, folklife and rolley hole marbles.

Click for schedule.

Transitioning for the next 150 years

When the county’s elected officials and courts moved to larger quarters, the beautiful old courthouse began its transition. The upstairs courtroom has been restored and fitted with sound and lighting equipment, making it an ideal venue for small theatrical and musical events.

An ongoing window restoration initiative is getting the community’s businesses and organizations involved in preserving the architectural beauty of the courthouse

The first floor’s interpretive displays now tell the county’s story. Soon a portion of the first floor will be a Rolley Hole Museum.

This website has been designed to be not only a repository for archival information but a place where the ongoing progress in preserving courthouse can be followed through stories and photo.

We invite you to explore our website to learn more about Rolley Holley marbles and some of the famous players like Bud Garrett and Dumas Walker. Meet celebrated local songwriter, Lola Jean Dillon, who composed for some of Country Music’s biggest stars.

Plans for annual special events are being formulated, and they’ll be announced right here and on our social media pages on Facebook and Instagram.

Bud Garrett

Bud Garrett was a renowned rolley hole marble maker and player as well as a country blues singer.

Read about Bud Garrett

Lola Jean Dillon

Lola Jean Dillon is a Clay Countian who achieved success as a songwriter, singer and recording artist who signed her first contract at age 17.

Read her story.


Dumas Walker

“Dumas Walker” is not just a song, he was a real storeowner whose Rolley Hole Marble expertise was immortalized in a song by The Kentucky Headhunters.

Read how it happened.

Celebrated Architecture

The Clay County Courthouse was built in 1873 and until 2012 was the second oldest operating courthouse in Tennessee. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.

Read about the architecture.

Support the Arts in Tennessee

When your car tags are set for renewal,  notify your county clerk’s office before you renew to change your plate to one of the Tennessee Arts Commission plates.
Make sure you park in spots that allow your tags to show everyone that you support the Arts in Tennessee!
This website and many of the projects that enable the Historic Clay County Courthouse to be used for cultural, theatrical, artistic and musical events have been made possible using grants from The Tennessee Arts Commission.
Click the plate you like for more info.