Charles City in Charles City County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
America’s 3rd Oldest Courthouse
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.
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?
Erected by Charles City Courthouse, Waste Management.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Architecture • Colonial Era. A significant historical year for this entry is 1757.
Location. 37° 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. The marker is on the lawn of the old Charles City Courthouse. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Charles City VA 23030, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. John Tyler (a few steps from this marker); Three Courthouse Essentials (a few steps from this marker); Confederate Memorial (a few steps from this marker); Shifting Ground (a few steps from this marker); Veterans Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Eye Witness to a Revolution (within shouting distance of this marker); Isaac Brandon Lynched, 6 April 1892 (within shouting distance of this marker); Charles City Court House (about 800 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map 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."
Credits. This page was last revised on July 6, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 8, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,368 times since then and 23 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on April 8, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.