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The Arts Center of the Portsmouth Museums

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1845–1846, William R. Singleton. c. 1867, remodeling. c. 1978–1982, renovation, Hanbury and Company. 420 High St. Open to the public
  • (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)
  • The Arts Center of the Portsmouth Museums (Richard Guy Wilson)
  • The Arts Center of the Portsmouth Museums (Richard Guy Wilson)

This impressive brick Greek Revival building was formerly the Norfolk County Courthouse, built to replace one in Berkley. Designed by William R. Singleton, who may have had some involvement with the Norfolk City Hall, the building is raised on a high basement with a tetrastyle Tuscan portico facing High Street. The columns are composed of granite bases, brick shafts, and sandstone capitals. Similarly arranged pilasters articulate all but the rear wall of the building. A flight of stairs once led to an entrance in antis on Court Street, but the entrance was moved to the High Street portico when the courthouse was remodeled to accommodate municipal courts after the city's incorporation in 1858. The pediment of the portico and the cylindrical Ionic cupola that crowns the roofline were recreated as part of the restoration of the building in the early 1980s, following the departure of the county and municipal courts. The building currently serves as the Arts Center of the Portsmouth Museums.

Writing Credits

Richard Guy Wilson et al.


What's Nearby


Richard Guy Wilson et al., "The Arts Center of the Portsmouth Museums", [Portsmouth, 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, 445-445.

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