JEFFERSON STREET BUILDINGS
Charlottesville’s Early Homes and Churches
Jefferson Street Buildings East Jefferson Street
Local Marker in Front of Courthouse
Some buildings along this block date from 1785 and the 1830s. Originally there were 3 buildings on the block: John Kelley’s mercantile store on the east end, John Cochran’s home in the center, and the Butler/Norris home on the west end (410 East Jefferson Street). Portions of the latter structure were built in 1785 by Edward Butler, a signer during the American Revolution of the 1779 Albemarle Declaration. Kelley, the founder of the city’s first Sunday School, purchased and altered Butler’s home around 1808 and in 1816 sold it to Opie Norris, a Town Trustee and Magistrate (notable for freeing a slave name Joyce in 1806). To the west across 4th Street (then known as Union Street) once stood the First Baptist Church. This new congregation had originated around 1820, holding its services in the courthouse. In 1831, University students Reuben Coleman and James Gross became its first ministers. At the same time, early Episcopalians and Methodist churches were erected further west on Jefferson Street as were Presbyterian and Christian Churches on Market. Thomas Jefferson occasionally attended their services and donated money for their buildings.