Crittenden County’s first courthouse was at Greenock, a now vanished town that was about 10 miles northeast of Marion near the confluence of the Mississippi River and Wapanocca Bayou, and served as the county seat from 1826 through most of 1835. By early 1840, the Greenock courthouse must have been gone or was in bad repair; the voting place in Wapanocca Township was changed from the courthouse to the old store of Collins & Marton a mile south of Greenock. Prior to the erection of the courthouse, court sessions were held in private homes. The first court session was held for two days in the home of John H. Fooy at Hopefield.
On November 11, 1835, a courthouse commission reported a courthouse was ready for occupancy at Marion, and a court order was issued to move county records to the courthouse within 30 days. This courthouse was destroyed by fire on January 15, 1852. It was reported that the light from the fire could be seen in Memphis. The county records were not destroyed as they were stored in the circuit clerk’s office housed in a separate building southwest of the courthouse.
The second courthouse at Marion, a frame two-story structure, was completed April 15, 1853. A room above the court room of that structure was made available for rent at $2 per month. Proceeds from rentals were used to provide a back or privy house for use of the courthouse personnel and visitors. This courthouse deteriorated during the Civil War, when there were no governmental activities in the county, and was sold at public auction January 8, 1866, for $40. The Methodist church was used to hold court.
In July, 1869, a new county circuit clerk’s office was erected south of the courthouse site. It had space that was used for court sessions. Following the problems of Reconstruction, on July 28, 1870, $25,000 was appropriated for the erection of the third courthouse at Marion. On November 13, 1871, members of the county court ordered the new courthouse to be erected and A. D. Carroll was low bidder for the courthouse and new jail. Completion was promised in 12 months. Payment was to be made over a five-year period with funds from a $50,000 bond issue. The plans for the courthouse were not approved until November 27, 1871. There was opposition to the tax to pay the bonds for the construction, and funding was so critical that the court ordered the sale, at auction July 24, 1873, of the old tin roof from the clerk’s office and all iron roofing and iron off the county jail. Delays in construction and litigation which went all the way to the Arkansas Supreme Court to force payment of the bond tax resulted in the facility costing more than $100,000. Suit was also brought against the contractor for his failure to fulfill his contract. The courthouse building was finally accepted on July 10, 1876.
John F. Rhodes was county judge when construction of the present fifth courthouse for the county and a county jail were approved September 12, 1910. The architect was Chamberlain & Co., Birmingham, Alabama, and Fort Worth, Texas; contractor Falls City Construction Co., Louisville, Kentucky. Cost was $99,740 including the jail. The three-story, brick courthouse was built on Marion public square on the site of the first Marion courthouse. Court sessions were held in the basement prior to completion of the upper floors. The courthouse and jail were completed October 5, 1911. Frequently, the second floor was converted into a ballroom for all-night dances at which W. C. Handy, the famous Memphis musician, and his band played. It was also utilized for religious services. The current Crittenden County Courthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in August, 1977.