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Gloucester County leaders seek to improve historic buildings

Leaders will soon find an expert to assess the damage of six buildings including the old jail, courthouse and tavern now used as a museum.

GLOUCESTER, Va. — New floors in the colonial courthouse are the beginning of a larger project at Court Circle in Gloucester County. It’s one Director of Gloucester Parks, Recreation and Tourism Katey Legg said is years in the making.

“It started with a grant project through VDOT to rehabilitate the sidewalks in here, and improve the accessibility to some of these buildings,” Legg said.

From there, county leaders realized more could be done to preserve six historic buildings.

“One of the biggest tourism drivers for Gloucester County is history," Legg said. "So many of these buildings that we have here in the circle are not accessible to the public.”

That’s because some of the buildings are deteriorating, and leaders haven’t put funds toward renovations until now. Legg said her department received $250,000 to bring to start the process of assessing the structures to understand what damage needs to be fixed. That assessment will also help county leaders understand if they can form a museum's complex and install exhibits inside these structures to tell its stories.  

“This has always been kind of the center of the Gloucester community,”  Robert Kelly, the county’s museums coordinator, said.

He said Court Circle is filled with buildings like the old courthouse, jail, and office all developed in the 18th century. Kelly said this project will unravel more history within the county and drive more people to the area.

“A lot of this project focuses around education and learning. We want to learn about the buildings and then, in turn, we want to educate our guests, our visitors."

“The court circle is such a gem and we’re hoping to highlight that and enhance the overall look and feel.”

Legg said next month, crews will start redoing the sidewalks. Though there's not a clear timeline on when any renovations will start, Legg said they hope to bring in an expert to take a look at the buildings within a few months.

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