Albemarle County Courthouse
The courthouse is open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. There is no admission fee. Closed for state and federal holidays. Court Square buildings are visible from the street at all times.
Situated in downtown Charlottesville, the Albemarle County Courthouse and the surrounding Court Square area offer a physical reminder of the life of early settlers in the area.
The courthouse was first established in 1762, on land donated by Dr. Thomas Walker. William Cabell was the first builder of the original frame building, which was torn down and replaced in 1803 by the rear wing of the existing building. The grounds of the courthouse once held a whipping post, pillory and stocks, as was typical of the time. In addition to serving as the courthouse and sole place to vote in Albemarle County, religious services for Episcopal, Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist worshippers were held in this space, which Jefferson called "The Common Temple.” Jefferson, Madison and Monroe were frequent visitors here, especially after Jefferson retired in 1809.
In 1859 a front addition was constructed in the Gothic Revival style, with octagonal stair towers flanking the entrance. During the 1870’s, the portico, with its grand columns, was added, while as late as 1938 a WPA project remodeled the building to create uniformity with the earlier classical style.
The Courthouse and other sites can be explored in more detail on Saturday morning walking tours offered by the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, located at 200 Second Street, NE Tours begin at 10:00 am (between April and October), last for approximately one hour and cost $5.00. Call the Historical Society at (434) 296-1492 for more information.