NOTE: The 1917 Courthouse is an active court and is not available for tours
The historic 1917 Chesterfield County Courthouse stands in a majestic setting along Ironbridge Road (Route 10) where it dominates the Courthouse Green, a national and state-listed historic district. Facing a brick Veterans Memorial Wall and surrounded by three other historic buildings – the 1828 Clerk’s Office, the 1889 Clerk’s Office and the Historic 1892 Jail – our 1917 Courthouse occupies the footprint of the first Chesterfield County courthouse built in 1749 but demolished in 1916, against the will of local citizenry. This early preservation case was the subject of heated debate between concerned citizens wanting to save their Colonial-era courthouse and prominent residents who argued successfully in favor of replacing it with a more imposing structure. The cornerstone of the new courthouse was laid on October 26, 1917 during the annual County Fair, followed by a parade of 100 men drafted to serve in World War I who were encamped in the courthouse yard. On February 5, 1918, a contract was awarded to Vaughan Construction of Shawsville, VA, to construct a new brick building measuring 48x48 feet. The doors of the new courthouse officially opened on May 2, 1918. An all-day picnic was held and all schools encouraged their pupils to participate in the festive program. Judge Robert G. Southall took the bench for the first term of the court on May 13, 1918.
The Chesterfield Historical Society of VA was granted permission to move into the 1917 Courthouse in 1990 where it operated a small research library and opened its first Museum Gift Shop. In 1998, the Society relocated to Castlewood when the 1917 Courthouse reverted to its original use as a court facility.