Cumberland County Courthouse

VLR Listing Date


NRHP Listing Date


NRHP Reference Number


William A. Howard, an associate of Thomas Jefferson’s master builder, Dabney Cosby, Sr., built the Cumberland County Courthouse in 1818. Designed in the Jeffersonian Classical style, the compact building is dominated by a finely executed Tuscan portico. The form departs from the norm by being only one story in height and by having the portico on the long side. Howard also designed the diminutive brick clerk’s office east of the courthouse. Completed in 1821, the clerk’s office features a full Doric entablature and a portico with unusual octagonal columns, probably resulting from a misreading of pattern-book instructions for column construction. Also located on the courthouse green (which centers the Cumberland Courthouse Historic District) is the original county jail, and a 19th-century well. Several prominent Virginia lawyers, including Patrick Henry, John Marshall, Edward Carrington and Richard Randolph, practiced law here.

The Cumberland County Courthouse was initially listed in the Virginia Landmarks Register in 1968, and was under review for listing in the National Register of Historic Places in 1969. After the courthouse ceiling collapsed in 1968, a thorough renovation of the building took place, which included the use of the sand blast method to clean the building’s brick. The work damaged and discolored the brick and mortar, and combined with interior renovations, led to the delisting of the courthouse. A positive result from this incident was a new awareness in the preservation community about the destructive effects of sand blasting.  The courthouse and clerk’s office were were relisted in the Virginia Landmarks Register, and listed in the National Register of Historic Places, in 1994 for their importance in Cumberland County’s governmental history, including a collection of legal and governmental records that are continuous from 1749.

The Cumberland County Courthouse was listed in the registers in 1994.  Additional information regarding the courthouse complex was documented in 2006 as part of the project to list the Cumberland Courthouse Historic District.  Updated documentation on the ca 1936 brick wall that surrounds the courthouse complex, and two late 20th century markers on the green, was approved by the National Register in 2007.
[NRHP Approved: 6/27/2007]

Last Updated: March 27, 2024

Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.

VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

For additional information Read

Nomination Form

2007 Additional Documentation Nomination
Original 1969 Nomination


Pine Grove Elementary School

Cumberland (County)



Cumberland (County)


Oak Hill

Cumberland (County)