Old Isle of Wight Courthouse

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Old Isle of Wight Courthouse
Smithfield colonial courthouse.JPG
Old Isle of Wight Courthouse
Old Isle of Wight Courthouse is located in Virginia
Old Isle of Wight Courthouse
Location NE corner of Main and Mason Sts., Smithfield, Virginia
Coordinates 36°58′54″N 76°37′56″W / 36.98167°N 76.63222°W / 36.98167; -76.63222Coordinates: 36°58′54″N 76°37′56″W / 36.98167°N 76.63222°W / 36.98167; -76.63222
Area 1 acre (0.40 ha)
Built 1750
Governing body Preservation Virginia
Part of Smithfield Historic District (Smithfield, Virginia) (#73002022)
NRHP Reference # 70000802
VLR # 300-0002
Significant dates
Added to NRHP September 15, 1970
Designated CP July 02, 1973
Designated VLR June 2, 1970[1]

The Old Isle of Wight Courthouse was built in 1750-51[2] and was used as the main courthouse for Isle of Wight County, Virginia until a new courthouse was built at Isle of Wight, Virginia in 1800. It is located in the Historic District in the town of Smithfield.


During its 50 years of use as the county courthouse, it was considered the center of life in Isle of Wight and in the town of Smithfield, which was incorporated in 1752.[3] It was constructed by William Rand, and featured a distinctive semi-circular apse and conical roof found in many English churches of the period and echoing the Colonial Capitol in Williamsburg.[4] An adjacent clerk's office was constructed in 1799, although it was only in use for its intended purpose for a year, before the new courthouse at Isle of Wight was constructed. The old Smithfield courthouse was later modified into a family residence. To do so, the arcade was blocked and the roof converted to a gable.[2]


The courthouse and clerk's office were acquired by Preservation Virginia in 1938 and an extensive restoration project was completed in 1959.[3]

A second restoration of the courthouse was undertaken in the late 1990s with the help of Colonial Williamsburg consultants and craftsmen, in which the interior was modified to more accurately recreate the appearance of a typical Virginia courthouse of the period.

The building is one of four remaining examples of arcaded colonial courthouses.[5]

In 2013, ownership passed from Preservation Virginia to the non-profit Historic Smithfield. A semi-independent committee within Historic Smithfield known as 1750 Isle of Wight Courthouse raises money for the continued maintenance and restoration of the building and makes it available to the public, free of charge, year-round.


  1. ^ "Virginia Landmarks Register". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  2. ^ a b The Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (1989). Preserving Virginia 1889-1989: Centennial Pictorial. The Art Bank. 
  3. ^ a b Couture, Richard (1984). To Preserve and Protect. Dallas, TX: Taylor Publishing Co. p. 93. 
  4. ^ "Old Isle of Wight Courthouse". Historical Marker Database. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  5. ^ "Isle of Wight Courthouse". Preservation Virginia. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 

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