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Walter E. Hoffman Courthouse

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1932–1934, Benjamin F. Mitchell with Rudolph, Cooke and Van Leewven. c. 1983, renovation, Williams and Tazewell and Associates. 600 Granby St. Lobby open to the public

Constructed during the Depression, this handsome edifice was Norfolk's second federal building, replacing a turn-of-the-twentieth-century facility on Plume Street. The building housed the U.S. post office, courthouse, and other federal offices. The two-part division of the building's principal functions is evident on the Granby Street facade, where a separate south entrance once led to the post office. Otherwise the exterior is symmetrical, with pavilions set back at the corners and a central projecting pavilion that marks the main entrance. The limestone exterior, in a stripped classical manner that was a popular choice for public buildings during the 1930s, has two three-story Composite order columns in antis above the main entrance, but the remainder of the building, including the marble-paneled lobby, is ornamented in a less traditional Art Deco fashion. A frieze of triglyphs and stars punctuated by shields girdles the building between the first and second levels, and a simplified cornice crowns the main block and each of the pavilions. Following the construction of the new Federal Building on lower Granby Street (see entry, above) and a new post office headquarters east of downtown, the building was converted solely for use by the federal courts and named after Walter E. Hoffman, one of Norfolk's most distinguished jurists and a foe of segregation.

Writing Credits

Richard Guy Wilson et al.


What's Nearby


Richard Guy Wilson et al., "Walter E. Hoffman Courthouse", [Norfolk, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Virginia: Tidewater and Piedmont, Richard Guy Wilson and contributors. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, 412-412.

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