Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Charlottesville, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Historic Courthouse Square

 
 
Historic Courthouse Square Marker Photo, Click for full size
By J. J. Prats, May 2, 2009
1. Historic Courthouse Square Marker
Inscription. This building, in continuous use as a courthouse for over 200 years, is one of America’s most historic. No other courthouse has been used by three early American Presidents at the same time, The original wood frame courthouse was erected on a two-acre lot in 1762 when the city was founded by Dr. Thomas Walker. Here local elections were held and the County Court conducted business with the help of young attorneys and magistrates such as Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe. These men along with James Madison later became Presidents and could at times be seen here together.

After a stirring patriotic sermon by Rev. Charles Clay on a public Fast Day in 1774 the freeholders of Albemarle County met here and made a resolution to the Virginia House of Burgesses that called for a boycott of trade with England and for a meeting of a Continental Congress. When the British attacked Richmond in the summer of 1781 the Virginia General Assembly made Charlottesville its temporary emergency capital and met here for deliberations, including Patrick Henry, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Richard Henry Lee, John Tyler and Daniel Boone.

The courthouse was also a place of worship and Jefferson himself helped organize
Historic Courthouse Square Marker Photo, Click for full size
By J. J. Prats, May 2, 2009
2. Historic Courthouse Square Marker
an independent congregation led by Rev. Clay beginning in 1777 called the Calvinistical Reformed Church. A member of this church, Col John Harvie, introduced Jefferson’s famous Bill for Religious Freedom to the Virginia legislature that same year. Many years later Jefferson called the courthouse the “common temple” and proudly spoke of its use each Sunday by four Protestant denominations in turn.

The square was enclosed with a railing in 1792 and a second building of brick was built in place of the wooden structure in 1803 and now forms the north wing to your right. It faced a public square with taverns and shops behind you (on today’s Park Street). A whipping post, stocks, pillory and a stone jail stood on this public square that also was the commercial center of the town. The south wing of this courthouse, which is located behind this display was built in 1860 in the Gothic Revival style and was modified to its current appearance in the 1930’s as part of an extensive renovation. This work restored the Colonial features of the original building and remodeled the portico in the Colonial Revival style.
 
Location. 38° 1.894′ N, 78° 28.641′ W. Marker is in Charlottesville
A Bicentennial Tribute Photo, Click for full size
By J. J. Prats, May 2, 2009
3. A Bicentennial Tribute
This plaque is near the marker and reads, “A Bicentennial tribute to the memory of the United States. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe associated with this courthouse in Albemarle County, Virginia. Given on All Presidents Day April 30, 1976 by the Shadwall Chapter, National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution.”
, Virginia. Marker is on Park Street north of East Market Street, on the left when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Charlottesville VA 22902, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Site of Old Swan Tavern (a few steps from this marker); Monticello (within shouting distance of this marker); Albemarle Confederate Monument (within shouting distance of this marker); Jack Jouett’s Ride (within shouting distance of this marker); Watering Fountains (within shouting distance of this marker); Thomas Jonathan Jackson Sculpture (within shouting distance of this marker); Gen. Alexander Archer Vandegrift (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Paul Goodloe McIntire (about 300 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Charlottesville.
 
Categories. Colonial EraWar, US Revolutionary
 
Charlottesville Courthouse Photo, Click for full size
By J. J. Prats, June 15, 2008
4. Charlottesville Courthouse
DAR 1938 Tablet Photo, Click for full size
By J. J. Prats, June 15, 2008
5. DAR 1938 Tablet
This tablet is set into the wall high up on the front portico of the courthouse. It reads, “Albemarle County, Founded A.D. 1744 from a portion of Goochland County. Named for the second Earl of Albemarle. Inscribed by the Albemarle Chapter D.A.R. 1838.”
Thomas Jefferson<br>Third President of the United States Photo, Click for full size
By Rembrandt Peale, 1805
6. Thomas Jefferson
Third President of the United States
Reproduced from the original painting by the New York Historical Society. From Wikipedia Commons.
James Madison<br>Fourth President of the United States Photo, Click for full size
By Gilbert Stuart, circa 1821
7. James Madison
Fourth President of the United States
From Wikipedia Commons collection.
James Monroe<br>Fifth President of the United States Photo, Click for full size
By William James Hubbard, circa 1832
8. James Monroe
Fifth President of the United States
From Wikipedia Commons collection.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,746 times since then and 91 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia.   2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on , by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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