The Department of Historic Resources (DHR) posted a new slide show for their web feature “Historic Virginia, Site of the Month.” This month DHR features images and highlights of the changing nature of the circa-1824 Henry County Courthouse, which found new life in 2010 thanks to grants from Save America’s Treasures and the local Harvest Foundation.
The site and courthouse have gone through considerable alterations since Martinsville was established as the seat of Henry County in 1791, with a log courthouse originally built in 1793. A two-story brick courthouse was built in 1824, but all that’s immediately recognizable of that structure are the four columns of the front portico. Today the 1929 remodeled courthouse is a “contributing” building to the Martinsville Downtown Historic District.
The preservation of the building was spearheaded by Martinsville-Henry County Historical Society (M-HCHS), who from1996 through 2010 worked diligently in phases to restore the courthouse building and adaptively reuse it for the community. In partnership with the County and national and local advocates, M-HCHS reports that the project, originally estimated at more than $1 million, was accomplished for less than $200,000.
The restored building now houses a Heritage Center & Museum, the historical society, and an information center for the New College Institute. Additional information about the sites in downtown Martinsville can be found on the Martinsville Uptown Revitalization Association website.