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Albemarle Circuit Court in Charlottesville, VA – Pic of the Week

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On my recent trip to Charlottesville, Virginia—the county seat of Albemarle County—I had the opportunity to visit the historic Albemarle Circuit Court, which is part of the 16th Judicial Circuit of Virginia. The Albemarle Circuit Court is a trial court of general jurisdiction, meaning it can hear all kinds of cases which arise within its geographic area. The Circuit Court also hears appeals from the General District Court, the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, and from state administrative agencies.

A red brick, two-story building in the Greek Revival style with four white columns and a white pediment
Albemarle County Courthouse. Photo by Jenny Gesley.

The Albemarle Courthouse is one of the oldest courthouses in continuous use in the United States and is registered on the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to serving as a courthouse and town building, it was also used as a community church. Thomas Jefferson referred to it as the “Common Temple” as it hosted Episcopal, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Baptist services.

The original wood-frame building was erected in 1762. The brick courthouse building was added in 1803, replacing the wooden structure, and now forms the north wing. The south wing was built in 1860 in the Gothic Revival Style.  During the 1870s, the portico with its grand columns was added. In the 1930s, the building was renovated as part of a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project and the original Colonial and Federal style features were restored.

The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors recently discussed whether to relocate its general district and circuit courts outside of downtown Charlottesville, although it seems like no decision has been made yet. Issues raised were capital costs, parking, and the effect of a relocation on low-income individuals.

Comments (2)

  1. Charlottesville VA is NOT located in Albemarle County, VA. Virginia may be only state having this type of government. You can google for this information.

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