The Mathews Downtown Historic District captures an area generally known as the Mathews Court House village in Mathews County and which had been occupied by Virginia Indians since the Early Woodland period. Substantive Euro-American development of the district began around 1775, and accelerated once the village (then known as Westville) became the county seat, after the formation of Mathews County from Gloucester County in 1791. Over the next two centuries, the Mathews Downtown Historic District developed slowly from an agrarian village and economy to a small town. Local residents and businessmen invested heavily in the town throughout the antebellum period, leading to a growing population, diverse workforce, and materially improved structures including a brick courthouse built circa 1830. After the Civil War the town and county experienced a slow recovery but by the early 20th century the downtown offered a variety of retail, professional, and recreational services. The overall population of the county has grown slowly through the second half of the 20th century and, as a result, the Mathews Downtown Historic District has maintained its historic character and not seen the significant declines and disruptive redevelopments of many downtown areas across Virginia.
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