The Texas Legislature created Henderson County in 1846. The current courthouse is Henderson County's fourth courthouse and the second in Athens. The first one was built in 1850 in Buffalo and the second, two-story frame courthouse, was built in 1861 in Centerville.
The third courthouse, a log cabin style, was built in Athens in 1887 and served as the court building for 11 years. C.H. Hawn & Co. constructed the next courthouse, which was used until 1913.
Completed in January 1914, the red-bricked Henderson County Courthouse exhibits a Classical Revival design. The building is comprised of three floors above a full basement, and features a central dome and four three-bay pedimented entries with Tuscan columns. The cross-axial plan is formed from a central block with single bays projecting from each corner. Original detailing includes marble stairways and wainscoting on the interior. it is unusual for its angled wings. It also has a central cupola which is not seen in most images, but there is norotunda under the cupola. To celebrate its opening, the Boy Scouts planted the trees that grow around the court square.
Since becoming the county's public center, the courthouse has been the location of the "Old Fiddlers" contest and other events. Today, memorials and tributes to Henderson County veterans, leaders, residents and history are located on the square.