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New Rockbridge County Courthouse

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2005–2009, BCWH Architects. E. Nelson St. at S. Randolph St.
  • (Photograph by D Hughes)

The new Rockbridge County Courthouse was born out of nearly ten years of controversy. The old courthouse (RB1) was in poor repair and no longer met the needs of the court, but the community valued the historic structure and the ceremonial character of the old courthouse square. After experimenting with several schemes to expand the old building and appropriate the other buildings in the square for court use, the county finally decided to move the new courthouse a block away to what had traditionally been called Back Street, an indication of the secondary position Randolph Street held compared to Main Street. But a public referendum rejected the proposed building and the state court took over the process of ensuring the county would finally meet its constitutional obligation to provide adequate facilities. Again, various schemes were proposed but in the end, in 2007, the Board of Supervisors voted to accept the plan developed by BCWH Architects of Richmond. Even then, there was community protest against the decidedly modern metal and glass character proposed for the exterior of the building. Finally, a classical treatment of red brick and stone trim with Doric columns was accepted. The well-lit, modern structure provides ample room for the courts and county records, and the attached parking garage helped bring much-needed additional parking to the downtown area. Some citizens still objected to the scale of the building, saying it overwhelmed nearby structures, but the building is functioning well, and won two statewide awards in 2009, one for its interior design and one for its conservation features.

Writing Credits

Anne Carter Lee


What's Nearby


Anne Carter Lee, "New Rockbridge County Courthouse", [Lexington, 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, 123-124.

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