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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Charles City in Charles City County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

America’s 3rd Oldest Courthouse

 
 
America’s 3rd Oldest Courthouse Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, March 28, 2009
1. America’s 3rd Oldest Courthouse Marker
Inscription. This courthouse has been used continuously for judicial purposes for more than 250 years — only two other courthouses in the entire country have a longer history. Built in 1757, almost 20 years before the beginning of the Revolutionary War, the original T-shaped structure was entered on the north side through an arcade fronted with five arches which are now windows. Following the Civil War the arcade was bricked in to provide more space, and the entrance was moved to the south.

The first court was established in Charles City in 1624 at Westover Plantation on the James River. All judicial proceedings were moved to this location when this courthouse was built 133 years later.

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Discovery Center
Despite changes to the original structure, some consider this building to be the most sophisticated surviving example of an arcaded courthouse. The builder employed distinctive and labor-intensive brickwork. Can you find rubbed brick at the corners, arches and window jambs? Examine the brick water table on the lower section of the walls. Can you see how the molded brick curves in opposite directions?
Rubbed brick. Water table.
 
Erected by Charles City Courthouse, Waste Management.
 
Location. 37° 
America’s 3rd Oldest Courthouse Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, March 28, 2009
2. America’s 3rd Oldest Courthouse Marker
20.511′ N, 77° 4.335′ W. Marker is in Charles City, Virginia, in Charles City County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Courthouse Road (Virginia Route 155) and Watermelon Fields Road. Click for map. The marker is on the lawn of the old Charles City Courthouse. Marker is in this post office area: Charles City VA 23030, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Three Courthouse Essentials (a few steps from this marker); Shifting Ground (a few steps from this marker); Eye Witness to a Revolution (within shouting distance of this marker); Charles City C. H. (about 800 feet away, measured in a direct line); New Hope & Court House (approx. 0.3 miles away); Greenway (approx. 0.6 miles away); North Bend (approx. 1.2 miles away); Kittiewan and Doctor Rickman (approx. 1.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Charles City.
 
More about this marker. In the center is an "Engraving from Benson J. Lossing, The Pictorial Field-Book of the Revolution 1859)."
On the upper right is a period photo of "Charles City Courthouse, June 13, 1864. Courtesy Library of Congress." Also on the upper right is a photo of the "Courthouse interior."
 
Categories. Antebellum South, USNotable Buildings
 
The original entrance was on the north side. image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, March 28, 2009
3. The original entrance was on the north side.
The entrance was moved to the south side. image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, March 28, 2009
4. The entrance was moved to the south side.
Charles City County Courthouse built c.1730. image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, March 28, 2009
5. Charles City County Courthouse built c.1730.
Charles City County Courthouse & Clerk's Office. image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, March 28, 2009
6. Charles City County Courthouse & Clerk's Office.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,100 times since then and 103 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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