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  • HISTORIC SMITHFIELD HISTORIC SMITHFIELD

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(36.98,-76.63)
 

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Mission Statement

The 1750 Isle of Wight Courthouse is open to the public. Please come visit us to learn about its remarkable role in the American experience.

Description

The 1750 Isle of Wight Courthouse was built on land donated by Arthur Smith IV after he obtained a charter to establish the first town in the county in 1750. It served as the official courthouse for IOW County from 1752 to 1800. In 1812 the building and small clerk’s office adjacent was sold to Dr. Robert Butler. He was a physician and he needed and office and a residence, so he converted the building into a three story ten room mansion. The building existed as a residence and even hotel for over 140 years. The only evidence that it was a courthouse was the semi-circular apse in the rear which is the only courthouse in Virginia with this unique architectural feature. In 1938 the United States Post Office intended to purchase it and raze the building and construct the new post office on that lot. Fortunately, Emily Delk Simpson prevailed upon APVA/Preservation Virginia to purchase it and it was saved. However, it was the end of the depression and World War II was looming on the horizon, so it remained the 3 story structure until 1959 when the local branch was able to raise enough money from local citizens to begin the restoration and it was completed in 1961.

1750 Isle of Wight Courthouse provides tours on a regular basis.

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