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Albemarle County Courthouse

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1803; many additions. 501 E. Jefferson St.

The square is dominated by the courthouse, which began as a two-story Flemish bond brick structure (now the north wing) with modillioned cornice and perhaps an arcaded porch to the south, which has disappeared. The courthouse served several purposes, including a place of worship for four religious denominations. Thomas Jefferson in 1822 described it as a “common temple” where “all mix in society in perfect harmony.” William M. Pratt, an engineer who was the University of Virginia's first superintendent of buildings and grounds, designed a new entrance wing (1859–1860) incorporating Gothic Revival details. Pratt placed his addition across the south end of the existing courthouse and stuccoed the entire structure. In 1875–1880 George W. Spooner, a local builder who sometimes acted as an architect, removed most of the Gothic touches and added the present Ionic portico. His work is evidence both of the incipient Colonial Revival and of the strong undercurrent of continuity with earlier Virginia architecture. In 1938 Milton Grigg with Floyd Johnson “restored” the courthouse and removed the yellow stucco finish and the remainder of Pratt's Gothic work. Until it was removed in September 2020, a Confederate monument, a statue of an infantryman (1909, American Bronze Co.), stood in front of the courthouse; to the west, a mounted Stonewall Jackson (1921, Charles Keck) remains in place, pending the outcome of legal challenges surrounding its removal. The Courthouse Annex (1939, Elmer Burrus), attached to the northwest, was a PWA project that fits in seamlessly.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Richard Guy Wilson et al.
Updated By: 
Gabrielle Esperdy
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Data

Timeline

  • 2020

    Confederate monument removed from grounds.

What's Nearby

Citation

Richard Guy Wilson et al., "Albemarle County Courthouse", [Charlottesville, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/VA-01-CH1.

Print Source

Buildings of Virginia: Tidewater and Piedmont, Richard Guy Wilson and contributors. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, 143-145.

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