Welcome to the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society

Collecting, preserving, and interpreting the history of our community!

From the collection of legendary photographer Ed “Flash” Roseberry (b. 1925) comes this classic photo of downtown Charlottesville, East Main Street, December 1959: The heart of Charlottesville during the holiday season 1959, with Christmas lights and sparkling garlands strung across Main Street (today’s Downtown Mall). The marquee of the Paramount Theater advertises the film The Five Pennies starring Danny Kaye. The 1931 Paramount Theater had desegregated just one year before this picture was taken. The sign for Standard Drug Company is also noticeable on the left, now the site of a CVS. Charlottesville’s Main Street had its origins as the 18th-century roadway, the Three Notched Road, which ran west across the Piedmont from Richmond, over the Blue Ridge and across the valley to Staunton. Today’s Downtown Mall, West Main Street, University Avenue, and Ivy Road follow that same colonial-era route used by early European settlers and Native Americans before them. (photo is courtesy of the Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia).

COVID – 19 Updates

UPDATE 10/8/2020

The Historical Society is closed except for by-appointment use of the Research Library. To make an appointment, call 434-296-1492 or email the Librarian at [email protected].

We value the health and safety of our visitors, library patrons, volunteers, staff, members, and the community at large. We are living through unique times but are dedicated to opening our museum, library, and programs to the public as soon as we can safely do so. Thank you for your interest and support of the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society. We wish everyone well and look forward to seeing you at the research library or at one of our programs and events—either in person or virtually online!


If you are experiencing COVID symptoms, feel ill, or have had a known exposure within the past two weeks, please do not visit us. Anyone who is feeling ill, been exposed, or has traveled to an area with higher infection rates should wait two weeks before visiting us.

In order to protect our visitors, staff, and volunteers, we request that you follow these guidelines when visiting us:

  • Masks are required in any indoor space. We encourage you to bring your own, but we do have some available by request.
  • Observe social distancing protocols while visiting with us.
  • Hand sanitizer is available in the lobby and in the research library. Our restroom is available and is stocked with soap and paper towels. You are encouraged to wash your hands frequently.

New cleaning protocols and schedules have been implemented to ensure that all highly-touched surfaces are cleaned and sanitized regularly. While visitation is allowed by appointment only, we are taking all necessary precautions to ensure a safe environment for our patrons.

You Are Invited to Join the Action.

Help Us Make the History.


Guided walking tours around Court Square and its environs are now available by appointment! Contact Sterling Howell at [email protected] to learn more or to schedule a tour.

Other than our walking tours there will be no in-person programs through the end of the year. All programs will be held online. View our calendar for all upcoming programs and follow us on Social Media for schedules and information.


For ACHS members who have already renewed for 2020, we thank you! Membership dues account for a large portion of our annual operating budget. Every membership counts! If yours is coming up for renewal, we hope you will continue to support us. For new members, WELCOME!!



Please consider donating to the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society to help #ACHSOpenOurDoors during the Covid-19 crisis.



Our vision is to reimagine and reinvent the role of the historical society in the twenty-first century: to be a strong civic organization that embraces, in all that we do, the diversity of our community’s history and experience, and promotes a greater understanding of our past, to enlighten the present and foster an inclusive history for future generations.


History is not the past; it is the story we tell about the past. Every person in Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville has a unique and powerful story to tell. Through collecting, preserving, and interpreting the history of our community, we are committed to informing, inspiring, and bringing together all people, creating opportunities for new relationships and new understandings.


Our work is grounded in a belief in the worth and dignity of every human being. We respect people, communities, and cultures. We value discovery, creativity, integrity, and diversity. We believe in the potential for history to enrich our lives and to create stronger relationships and more vibrant communities. We approach our work with integrity and transparency.

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At the Historic Public Library
On Market Street Park in Downtown Charlottesville
200 Second Street, NE
Charlottesville, Virginia 22902
Monday-Friday (8am-Noon) By Appointment
Phone: 434-296-1492
Email: [email protected]