The Clay County Courthouse is one of the oldest courthouses in the state of Tennessee to be used for holding court. All the original records from the beginnings of the court system to the present are housed in the courthouse.
The courthouse was built as a part of the contract system in 1872 to build the public buildings for the new county seat, Celina. Completed on October 1, 1873, the courthouse was built by D. L. Dow of Cookeville at a cost of $9999. The bricks for the courthouse were made from the clay dirt taken from the public square, and the lumber was dressed by hand. In 1985 4-H club members removed the plaster from one of the original fireplaces and installed a poplar mantle so that the interior of the courtroom would resemble the original. The Clay County Courthouse is listed with the National Registry of Historical Buildings.