Albemarle County courts complex

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The Albemarle County courts complex is located in downtown Charlottesville and consists of:

The complex, located in Court Square, is on the National Register of Historic Place and is part of the Albemarle and Charlottesville County Courthouse Historic District. The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors has considered relocating their courts out to a location elsewhere in the county, but have yet to make a decision as of September 2018. [2]

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The first court in Albemarle County was organized in 1744 and Joshua Frye served as president. In 1761, Dr. Thomas Walker donated 50 acres of land to become the site of a courthouse. The next year, the General Assembly established this site as the town of Charlottesville. [3]

The first courthouse was completed in 1763 on a site where a Confederate monument now stands. By the turn of the 19th century, it was determined that this wood-frame structure needed to be replaced and a new building modeled after the Henrico County courthouse was completed in 1803 at a cost of $5,000.

The new courthouse also served as the home of several congregations. Parishioner Thomas Jefferson remarked that the mixing of civic and religious spaces provided a "common temple" for the community. The University of Virginia's Board of Visitors met there until the Rotunda was completed in 1826. [1]

A $9,400 addition designed by William Pratt was completed in 1859 and was flanked with towers designed to emulate the Virginia Military Academy. This look lasted until 1938, when architect Milton Grigg undertook a renovation that removed the stucco from the Pratt design. Other renovations took place in 1964 and 1986. [1]


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With population projections showing the need for more court space, Albemarle officials have been planning for two scenarios to address the need for additional capacity. One option was to relocated the courts to anoher location. [4] A September 2012 report calculated the system needs 94,990 square feet of space. [1] Albemarle Supervisors voted in January 2015 to proceed with a study to relocate the courts downtown. [5] However, Supervisors were briefed on alternatives in April 2016. [6]

See Albemarle County Courts Relocation for more details.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Web. Courts Master Plan Study, Dewberry, FPW Architects, NCSC, Courts Master Plan Study, Albemarle County, September 2012, retrieved June 5, 2014.
  2. Web. Albemarle supervisors consider priorities for coming budget, Allison Wrabel, Daily Progress, World Media Enterprises, September 7, 2018, retrieved September 9, 2018.
  3. Web. Courts Master Plan Study, Dewberry, FPW Architects, NCSC, Courts Master Plan Study, Albemarle County, September 2012, retrieved August 4, 2014.
  4. Web. Albemarle Supervisors still open to moving courts from Charlottesville, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, June 4, 2014, retrieved June 5, 2014.
  5. Web. Albemarle Supervisors agree to study co-locating courts with Charlottesville, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, January 7, 2015, retrieved December 20, 2015.
  6. Web. Albemarle supervisors once again considering moving courts out of downtown, Charlottesville Tomorrow, April 6, 2016, retrieved April 27, 2016.