Established as the county seat in 1792, Stuart was initially named Taylorsville and then renamed in 1884 for Confederate general J. E. B. Stuart, whose birthplace was in nearby Ararat. The Patrick County Courthouse is the last of Virginia's three-part, Thomas Jefferson-inspired brick courthouses. Old-fashioned when it was built, it was designed by a Martinsville lawyer, who before the Civil War held a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. The specifications were prepared by S. M. Shoemaker. Similar in many ways to the 1824 Henry County Courthouse (HR4) and the demolished 1831 Franklin County Courthouse, the Patrick County Courthouse has a central block with a pedimented Tuscan portico flanked by recessed, lower, two-story wings. The exaggerated extension of the pediment, the projection of the entablature beyond the end columns, and the lack of engaged pilasters on the facade behind these two columns give the courthouse a countrified air, not inappropriate to its mountain setting. A flight of stairs leads up from the raised basement to the portico and gives a processional dignity to the entrance. The court order of 1855 specified that the basement would accommodate two clerk's offices, a large public room, and the sheriff's office, and that the courtroom and two jury rooms would occupy the principal floor. The Colonial Revival doorway probably dates from an extensive remodeling in 1928 and is one of the many changes to the building that have left little of the original interior fabric. One of the later additions is the small bell tower that caps the courthouse.
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Patrick County Courthouse
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