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 is renovating the courts in place rather than relocate them.

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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. [2]

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]

Expansion and renovation

The courts will be renovated in two phases. In the first, Albemarle and Charlottesville are building a joint General District Court in a section of the historic Levy Opera House. [3]

Ambox notice.png This article documents a current event. Information may change rapidly as the event progresses.


With population projections showing the need for more court space, Albemarle officials studied two scenarios to address the need for additional capacity. Albemarle County spent many years studying future capacity downtown, but the Board of Supervisors in 2014 signaled a willingness to consider relocating the courts. [4] A September 2012 report had calculated the system needed 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 of that time period.


  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. Courts Master Plan Study, Dewberry, FPW Architects, NCSC, Courts Master Plan Study, Albemarle County, September 2012, retrieved August 4, 2014.
  3. Web. FES Quarterly Report – April 2021, News Article, Albemarle County Department of Facilities and Environmental Services, April 2021, retrieved April 24, 2021.
  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.
  7. Web. Albemarle supervisors consider priorities for coming budget, Allison Wrabel, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, September 7, 2018, retrieved September 9, 2018.