Yorktown in York County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Early in York County’s history, private homes were used for courthouses. Five years after Yorktown’s founding, the colonial legislature authorized the construction of a permanent courthouse. While the location for the courthouse remained the same for 300 years; fire, war and the need to improve courthouse facilities resulted in five courthouse buildings on this site.
In the Colonial period, court day was usually a major social event. It was an opportunity for people from the surrounding area to visit Yorktown, take care of local government business, witness trials and punishment, purchase goods from town merchants, and catch up on news.
In 1997, a new larger courthouse opened a quarter mile south of this location. The old courthouse, renamed York Hall, continues to meet the need of government and community organizations and serves as
(left) This 1862 photograph of the third courthouse shows munitions stacked high on the front porch. The courthouse and the Swan Tavern across the street were consumed by fiery explosion in December 1863.
(top right) In 1941, an archeological excavation uncovered the foundation of the second courthouse, showing evidence of the 1863 explosion.
(right) Evidence of the fire that extensively damaged the interior of the fourth courthouse can be spotted around the windows and roof in this 1941 photograph. The building was razed shortly after this picture was taken.
1697-1733 Little is known about the first courthouse, which was probably a wooden building.
1733-1814 The second courthouse was a substantial brick structure. It burned in 1814.
1818-1863 Court was held in private homes until 1818 when the next courthouse was completed. This courthouse was accidentally destroyed during the Civil War.
1877-1940 In 1868, the county moved court to a wooden, unoccupied tenement erected in 1864, and formerly used as a military barracks. In 1876, a new courthouse was constructed at a cost of $5,865. In 1940, a fire swept through the building's interior.
Erected by York County.
Location. 37° 14.146′ N, 76° 30.529′ W. Marker is in Yorktown, Virginia, in York County. Marker is at the intersection of Main Street and Ballard Street, on the right when traveling west on Main Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 301 Main Street, Yorktown VA 23690, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. York County War Monument (a few steps from this marker); Swan Tavern (a few steps from this marker); Medical Shop (Reconstructed) (within shouting distance of this marker); Yorktown (within shouting distance of this marker); West Along Main Street (within shouting distance of this marker); East Along Main Street (within shouting distance of this marker); Grace Church - circa 1697 (within shouting distance of this marker); Somerwell House (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Yorktown.
Categories. • Colonial Era • Man-Made Features • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 31, 2015, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 214 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on May 31, 2015, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. 3. submitted on June 1, 2015, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.