Court Square

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0 Court Square

Court Square is the area in downtown Charlottesville surrounding the Albemarle County Courthouse, including Jackson Park.


Court Square's history dates back to 1761, when Dr. Thomas Walker offered a 50-acre parcel to build a courthouse for Albemarle County. The first courthouse was completed in 1763 and stood in front of the current courthouse building. This prompted economic development in the area, such as the opening of the Eagle Tavern and the Swan Tavern. The square was bounded in 1792. [1]

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

In 2020, the Court Square area is being reviewed by Albemarle County in the wake of General Assembly legislation that allows localities to remove Civil War monuments. [2]

Confederate Monument unveiled May 5, 1909; removed September 12, 2020

On September 12, 2020, the Confederate memorial to veterans of Charlottesville and Albemarle, nicknamed At Ready, was removed from Court Square.

2004-2006 renovation

Court Square was renovated in the mid 2000's by adding bricks to the streets and sidewalks, improving lighting, and undergrounding some utility wires.

The Charlottesville City Council allocated $1,520,000 to the project at its meeting on May 5, 2003. Funding from the federal government in the form of a Transportation Enhancement Fund (TEA) grant of $1,270,000 as well as a contribution of $250,000 from Albemarle County[3]

Enslaved persons marker

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

People were sold as slaves outside 0 Court Square. The commemoration of that horrible practice of legalized human trafficking is a topic of conversation in the third decade of the 21st century, especially after a historical marker on the pavement was removed by Albemarle County resident Richard H. Allan, III in early 2020. The marker was set in the sidewalk read "Slave Auction Block" and stated "On this site slaves were bought and sold." Charlottesville City Council (2020-2021) supported construction of a temporary marker on February 18, 2020. [4]

Installment of temporary marker on February 25, 2020


VIDEO CREDITS: Narrated by Dave Norris;
Graphic design: Jen Fleischer; Project Manager: Kristin Rourke.

The original frame of the court building was erected in 1762, and has been continually used as a courthouse for 200 years. When the British attacked Richmond in the summer of 1781, the Virginia General Assembly made Charlottesville its emergency capital and met in the courthouse for deliberations. The second brick building was built in 1803 in place of the original wooden structure.[5]

On New Years Eve in 1909 at about 7PM, J.S. Goodwin, a veteran Civil War artilleryman who had a store on Court Square, fired one of the cannons in front of the Albemarle County Courthouse. While there was no cannon ball, the amount of gunpowder used was sufficient to cause significant damage and alarm in the area.[6]

David Maurer quotes the following from the January 1, 1910 Daily Progress:

"[I]t only knocked out half the windows out of Mr. Flannagan's residence and the front of Cloud & Andwreson's looked like it had been shelled with shrapnel."


Businesses and Attractions

Surrounding area


  1. Web. Courts Master Plan Study, Dewberry, FPW Architects, NCSC, Courts Master Plan Study, Albemarle County, September 2012, retrieved August 4, 2014.
  2. Web. Participate in conversation on Court Square as important public space, News Staff, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, June 13, 2020, retrieved June 13, 2020.
  3. Web. Charlottesville City Council meeting minutes, .pdf, Council Chambers, City of Charlottesville, 5 May 2003.
  4. Web. City committee to recommend temporary slave auction marker, Nolan Stout, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, February 20, 2020, retrieved February 23, 2020. Print. February 20, 2020 page A3.
  5. Web. Historic Court Square, City of Charlottesville, retrieved 29 Dec. 2010.
  6. Maurer, David A. "New Year 2010 rang in with a mighty bang in Charlottesville." Daily Progress [Charlottesville] 3 Jan. 2010: C1-C2. Charlottesville Daily Progress. 3 Jan. 2010. Web. 3 Jan. 2010. <>.

External Links

Audiotour website: Source of video