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

York Hall

 
 
York Hall Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 30, 2015
1. York Hall Marker
Inscription. ”..it is hereby enacted…that an house suitable and fitt to hold courts in and as bigg in dimension att least as the present court house now is, be errected built and finished...within the said limitts of York Towne...." Virginia General Assembly, Laws of Virginia, September 1696

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 the seat of County government by housing the meeting facilities for the York County Board of Supervisors.

(captions)
(left) This 1862 photograph of the third courthouse
York Hall image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 30, 2015
2. York Hall
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.

(bottom timeline)
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.
1955-Present In 1941, with assistance from the National Park Service, York County began planning for a new courthouse. World War II delayed the project, but finally in 1955 the Colonial Revival
Yorktown, Virginia. View of Court House image. Click for full size.
1862
3. Yorktown, Virginia. View of Court House
Note munitions stacked high on the front porch. Library of Congress (LC-B811-2375A)
style structure that stands today was completed. The building's interior was extensively renovated after the 1997 opening of the new courthouse several blocks south on Ballard Street.
 
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 EraMan-Made FeaturesWar, 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 197 times since then and 27 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.
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