Tappahannock began as a village known as Hobb’s Hole in the mid-17th century. The core of this Essex County seat and Rappahannock River port preserves an important assemblage of 18th- and 19th-century architecture. The focal point of the Tappahannock Historic District is the 1848 Roman Revival courthouse. Adjacent is the 1728 courthouse, partially burned by the British in 1814 and since remodeled as a Methodist church. The 18th-century debtors’ prison and ca. 1808 clerk’s office stand nearby. Important houses in the Tappahannock Historic District include the mid-18th-century Ritchie house on Prince Street, the late 18th-century Brockenborough house on Water Street, now part of St. Margaret’s School, and the 1850 Roane-Wright house on Duke Street. These houses respectively were the residences of three cousins, editor Thomas Ritchie, banker John Brockenborough, and Spencer Roane, members of a political circle known as the Essex Junto or Richmond Junto, who helped the Jeffersonian Democratic-Republican party maintain its national dominance.
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