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Mecklenburg County Courthouse

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1840–1842, William A. Howard with James T. Whitice; 1950 rear addition; 2010 restoration and addition, Baxter Bailey and Associates. Washington St. at Jefferson St.
  • (Virginia Department of Historic Resources)

The impressive two-story courthouse clearly indicates Howard's debts to Jefferson, particularly in its resemblance to the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond. This Roman Revival courthouse, although smaller and less elaborate, is similar to the capitol in its temple form with a six-column Ionic portico and full entablature. As with a number of Virginia's courthouses of red brick with white trim, it was painted all white in the mid-twentieth century, thereby making it look more like the capitol, and probably more monumental and less agrarian than Jefferson intended for rural courthouses. In a twenty-first-century reversal, the paint was removed and a large courts and office building was added to the courthouse's left side. The interior originally contained a single large two-story courtroom, five bays wide and five deep with a polygonal apse in which the judges sat. Now only a few Roman Revival doorways survive inside, though the modern second-floor courtroom hung with pictures of twenty-one past judges retains a Harper Lee quality.

The Clerk's Office (1905, Bartholomew F. Smith; right of the courthouse) is a one-story, five-bay brick structure with a hipped roof. In 1950, it was Jeffersonized by replacing its original tower with a Doric portico.

Writing Credits

Anne Carter Lee


What's Nearby


Anne Carter Lee, "Mecklenburg County Courthouse", [Boydton, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Virginia vol 2

Buildings of Virginia: Valley, Piedmont, Southside, and Southwest, Anne Carter Lee and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015, 337-337.

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