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History

 
The earliest courthouse was a log cabin that burned down at the outbreak of the Second Seminole Indian Wars fought in Florida. At that time, fewer than a thousand people lived in Hillsborough County and cattlemen came to the courthouse most often to complain about stolen livestock.  And, of course, judges and attorneys traveled long distances by horseback or stagecoach to cover their  “circuit," a name still in use today.
When the first Commissioners met in 1846, the general topics were taxes, transportation, a new courthouse and jail, and downtown development. The next year, the Commissioners accepted the bid of Captain James McKay to construct a two-story courthouse, which was 20 ft x 45 ft and cost taxpayers $1,358. photo of the first ever Hillsbrough County Courthouse, 1855
A third structure was erected in 1855, which cost $5,000 and was used until 1891. This building was also two stories high but was 76 ft long, by 45 ft wide. The first floor was dedicated for City Hall, Judges of Probates, Clerk’s, Sheriff’s Offices and the Grand Juror’s room. A 42' by 45' courtroom was on the second floor. In addition, the courthouse was mounted with a dome and tower and was finished in a combination of Grecian, Ionic and Corinthian orders. Of course, it also had a picket fence to keep the animals out of the courtyard.

In August 1892, an ornate, red brick courthouse with a silver dome was built, occupying a square block in downtown Tampa. The architect, J.A. Wood, also had designed the Tampa Bay Hotel.
photo of Hillsborough County Courtroom, November 3, 1920
photo of the silver dome from the courthouse built in August 1892 Today the silver dome is in Joe Chilura Courthouse Square Park.
Original doors from this courthouse were restored and are now on the Judicial Conference Room at the George Edgecomb Courthouse. 
photo of the orignal doors from the courthouse built in August 1892
photo of the courthouse constructed in 1952 The next courthouse, constructed in 1952, took up two city blocks. Originally, the building featured separate restrooms and drinking fountains for whites and blacks. 
The Courthouse Annex was constructed a decade later and the North Annex was built in 1984. 
photo of the Courthouse Annex
In 1999, the Commissioners gave final approval for the latest Courthouse Facilities Project, which provided for new construction and renovation of existing buildings in downtown Tampa. The new construction, in 2004, included a six-story Family/Civil Court Building, which provides over 268,000 gross square feet of space for the courts and related agencies.
George E. Edgecomb Courthouse, built in 2004