Chesterfield Historical Society of Virginia

       1917 Historic Courthouse

  • NOTE:  The 1917 Courthouse is an active court and is not available for tours

    Historic 1917 Courthouse

    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 1749 Courthousebuilt 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.

    Courthouse Facts

    For secuity reasons, the 1917 Courthouse does not allow tours or events unless scheduled through the Office of the Sheriff.  Most events are held in front of the courthouse and the front steps can be utilized.  Any event will reqire coordination with the Sheriff's Departrment.  The Courthouse  has only been closed a few short times.  It once hosted the home of the Chestefield Historical Society of Virginia and also we1749 Historic Courthouse Bellnt though a couple of renovations.  It sits on the spot where the first 1749 Courthouse was located.  It was  the subject of the first Preservation Case in Chesterfield County in 1916-17.  One of the oldest Chesterfield County artifacts, the 1749 Historic Cupola Bell was replaced in 2018 during the 2018 Courthouse Centennial and now hangs in the Chestefield Museum.  You can hear the Bell ringing its last time in 2018.


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Rediscover Chesterfield’s History.  In Chesterfield County, visitors can experience over 400 years of history spanning the pre-colonial era through the early 20th century. Visit our historic sites and take part in our programs and events to learn some unique firsts that happened here.


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