The “new” town of St. Stephens, approximately three miles south of the original St. Stephens town site, was selected in 1848 as the seat of government for Washington County. In 1853 the Alabama Legislature authorized construction of the St. Stephens Courthouse to serve as governmental headquarters for the county. When completed in 1854, the courthouse became the county seat of Washington County. The building served as the county courthouse for 53 years until the county seat was moved to Chatom in 1907. The courthouse building also served as the meeting place of the St. Stephens Masonic Lodge #81 from the time of its organization in 1854 and the Masons acquired ownership of the property in 1910. Later, they donated the building to the St. Stephens Historical Commission. In 2000, the Historical Commission restored the building for use as a visitor center and local history museum.
The St. Stephens Courthouse was photographed and recorded by the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) in 1934. The building was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage (ARLH) in 1978 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1997.
The St. Stephens Courthouse is located beside CR 34 at downtown St. Stephens (GPS coordinates 31.539886, -88.054289).
Sources: 1) NRHP “Washington County Courthouse (St. Stephens Masonic Lodge) Registration Form; 2) ARLH “St. Stephens Masonic Lodge (Washington County Courthouse)” Nomination Form.
B&W photographs courtesy of US Library of Congress (HABS), photographer: W. N. Manning, date: March 13, 1934.