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The Online Magazine FOR and ABOUT Southside Virginia







July '09 Contents

July '09 Cover


Home Remedy By Gert Slabach

Shadows On The Roanoke
(William Byrd & Buffalo Springs)
By Auntie Bellum

Charlotte Courthouse
(Three Centuries - Three Statesmen)
Charlotte Courthouse - Photos

Keeling Fly-In '09
Event Coverage
Photo Gallery



South Winds
(Just Thinking)

Southside Gardener
(July "To Do List")
By William H. McCaleb

Ask Bubba - Advice
Bubba the Contractor


Editor's Page
(CARS & Fool Economy)
V & B Comics
(Verrnack & Blupirk)

Farm &Ag Info

Farmers Markets Listing (FMs in or near SSVA)

Festivals & Events
Sept & Oct Events

SoBo Harvest Fest

Press Releases


Past Issues

Past Issues are available from June 2008 through the current issue.
Select the desired issue from the drop-down box below.


Charlotte Courthouse

Three Centuries - Three Statesmen

Collage of Charlotte Courthouse


   Southside Virginia is home to many historical treasures. If you have a love of history and old buildings which let you travel back in time, you need go no farther than Charlotte Courthouse. Charlotte Courthouse is like a taste of Williamsburg in Southside.

   On a sunny day a few weeks ago, we met with Supervisor Nancy Carwile for an impromptu tour. Mrs. Carwile is a walking encyclopedia of Charlotte Courthouse history and trivia.

   Our tour began in the Charlotte County Museum. The museum is housed in the old jail on Courthouse Square and is open everyday. Rebuilt in the 1930s, the jail stands on the footprint of the original and was in use until the current jail was built. The museum holds many artifacts and informational displays. During the conversion from jail to museum, when it was determined the jail bars would be too difficult and expensive to remove, creative thinking turned the windows into display boxes. These boxes now hold many of the museums artifacts.

   Most of the original mechanisms are still in place in the jail and it takes very little imagination to get a feel for what it was like for someone spending time in the jail, either as captive or captor.

   Charlotte County claims a lineage of "Three Centuries - Three Statesmen". Patrick Henry (1736-1799), John Randolph (of "Roanoke") (1773 �1833), and David K. E. Bruce (1898-1977). Shadowbox displays in the museum hold visual effects and written text telling of the life and contributions of each of these Statesmen.

   Leaving the museum we stepped into Courthouse Square. Surrounded by historical brick buildings with young trees contrasting huge, old sycamores the square is a beautiful place to spend a little time. If you are at your leisure, bring a lunch and sit in the gazebo or on one of the shady benches and let your mind wander back in time. Some of the buildings on the square date back to the early 1800's, most of the rest are from the 19th or early 20th centuries, and look not much differently than they must have back when they were built. If you sit quietly, you can almost feel the history around you.

   Across the square from the museum is the Courthouse itself. The current courthouse, built in 1823, is the third courthouse on the same location. The courthouse building is the only Virginia courthouse known to have been designed by Thomas Jefferson, that still stands. From the front of the courthouse one is struck by the clean lines, and majestic presence of the building. On close inspection you will see nail heads embedded in the brick. These are actually nails from the days when they would literally nail a notice or proclamation to the courthouse wall.

   While the courthouse is not normally open to the public, we were fortunate to be able to go inside with our escort/tour guide Nancy Carwile. Although somewhat modernized, the interior of the courthouse still retains a historical feel. The long benches are reminiscent of church pews, while portraits of important historical figures cover the walls, and look down on those in the room as though still presiding over the court.

   Outside the courthouse there are a few things to see, including a cannon, monument and a plaque commemorating the debate between Patrick Henry and John Randolph on the question of states' rights. These are good photo opportunities for those inclined.

   After leaving the courthouse, we said good-bye and thank you to Mrs. Carwile and went off to explore a bit on our own. One recommendation we did follow was a visit to the library and gardens. The current library is housed in two adjacent buildings and is well stocked for a small town library. Behind one of the library buildings is a small but pleasant garden. The day of our visit there was little in bloom, but one could see where this would be a beautiful garden at the right time in the spring.

   With our available time running out, we took a quick ride around the town and saw many interesting older homes and buildings. With more time one could enjoy many other places of historical significance in Charlotte Courthouse, and even more in several other locations around Charlotte County.

   If you are planning a visit, you may want to check out "A Walking Tour of Charlotte Court House", a good map of the town with inset pictures of the buildings including descriptions and a short history of each. We have listed several other resource links below for history and information about Charlotte County.

   Discover Charlotte County and Charlotte Courthouse for a day-trip you will enjoy and long remember.

View more pictures of Charlotte Courthouse

Ride in the Heartland

   For a different experience, consider a bike tour of Charlotte County. In September the Museum of Charlotte County will sponsor the 5th Annual "Ride in the Heartland" bicycling event. This event offers three different routes. The Century and Metric Century rides include Red Hill Shrine (Patrick Henry home). and the Railroad Route and "treasure hunt" where riders will collect parts of their ride souvenir as they follow clues along their route. On Sunday there will be a Statesman Family Ride through the Cub Creek Church area, Phenix and Hillcross Road. There will also be Walking & Driving Tours covering Red Hill and Staunton River Battlefield.

For more information visit:  www.bikeheartland.org

Charlotte County Links

The Town of Charlotte Courthouse

Charlotte County Museum

Walking Tour of Charlotte Courthouse

Charlotte County Official Website

Other Historical Attractions in Charlotte County

Charlotte County History












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