The Thebes Courthouse was the Alexander County seat from 1845-1860. The architect of this Southern Style Greek Revival building was Henry Barkhausen, known in his native Prussia as the "King's Architect". Court was held on the lawn until 1848 when the stone building was complete.
Levi Lightner was the judge until the county seat was moved to Cairo Illinois. A local lawyer, John A. Logan, was the state's prosecuting attorney of the 3rd Circuit & argued cases here. He later became a US Congressman, Senator & VP nominee. During the Civil War he rose to Major-General & was commander of the Army of Tennessee. He campaigned for Lincoln in 1864 & brought fame to the Thebes Courthouse by speaking in favor of the Union.
It is said that Abraham Lincoln rode the circuit & practiced law at the Courthouse & stayed with the Lightner family.
Dred Scott was held in the Thebes Courthouse for one night & given some money before walking to Jonesboro where he rode the train to St. Louis, Missouri. After eleven years of filing law suits to become the first slave granted equal rights under the law, he lost in the Supreme Court in 1857.
In Dec. 1972 the Thebes Courthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places & underwent a major renovation ending in 1976. It is placed on a high bluff overlooking the Mississippi River & a railroad bridge & is located on The Great River Road. The museum operates as a free attraction to this day by the Thebes Historical Society who volunteers their time & talents to preserving & maintaining this grand historical structure.