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July 13, 2022

Ashe Street Courthouse deed transfer complete

The City of Johnson City has acquired the Ashe Street Courthouse from Washington County following a deed transfer Monday, July 11. The transfer includes the “Beaux-Arts” style building and three related parcels at 401 Ashe Street.

The building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was first known as the Johnson City Postal Savings Bank and Post Office and served as the Washington County courthouse from 1940 until 1985. Several years later the building was renovated and served as the home to Washington County’s 911 Emergency Communications District until 2017.

“The Ashe Street Courthouse is a key part of the City’s master plan for the West Walnut Street area,” said City Manager Cathy Ball. “This local landmark will become the anchor of the downtown end of the redeveloped West Walnut Street, serving as a place to cultivate businesses along that stretch.”

Using a $5 million appropriation from the state of Tennessee, the City is refurbishing the Ashe Street Courthouse to be used for rural economic development that will benefit the whole of Washington County and the region. A request for proposals will be issued for use of the space.

Early renovation work has included repairs to the roof, asbestos abatement and interior demolition. Restoration plans for the 1910 building include demolishing a single-story 1965 addition that faces Earnest Street. This will create an ADA entrance accessible from Earnest and West Walnut streets.

The project is anticipated to be complete by the end of the year.