1750 Isle of Wight Courthouse, Smithfield

#6 of 9 in Things to do in Smithfield
1750 Isle of Wight Courthouse Museum

Tours are provided on a regular basis. Check posted hours and days for more information. We do not charge admission but a suggested donation of $5 is gratefully appreciated. Thank you for your support!

Weddings & Events

Call today to book your next private event (757) 365-4516.

Our History

The 1750 IOW 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.
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1750 Isle of Wight Courthouse Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
34 reviews
  • The interior of the courthouse is a miniature of the courthouse on DOG Street in Williamsburg. A very nice volunteer told us the history of the court house and about the area. There are old photos of ...  more »
  • You are greeted at the door by costumed ladies in 1750's garb. They introduce you to the building and actually start the historical talk. It's been described as a history lesson. The building has been...  more »
  • Ms. Silvia was informative, genuine and kind! Amazing visit due to her attentiveness!
  • Lots of history and when we visited the staff person stationed inside knew a lot of the history and easily answered all questions.

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