Our Building


One of the earliest known photographs of the Charlottesville Public Library building on Second Street in Charlottesville, taken not long after it officially opened in 1921. One among many gifts from benefactor Paul McIntire to the City and the University, the library was named for McIntire following his death in 1952. The building was designed by architect Walter Dabney Blair (1877-1953). The building became home to the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society in 1994.

Philanthropy and Architecture

FROM THE 2015 EDITION of the Magazine of Albemarle County History comes this article by Glaire D. Anderson, a Professor of Art History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “Although Charlottesville is famous for Thomas Jefferson’s architectural designs at the University of Virginia and nearby Monticello, his are not the only local buildings worthy of notice. From its position in downtown Charlottesville, the McIntire Public Library’s classical serenity makes it a distinguished member of the city’s architectural community.”

McIntire Library 2015

Archaeology and History

FROM THE 2013 EDITION of the Magazine of Albemarle County History comes this article by Sara Morrow about a fascinating archaeological and historical account of the site of the McIntire Public Library- originally referred to as Lot 8 in the original 1762 plan for the town of Charlottesville. “In 2012, the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society  (ACHS) embarked on a new venture to explore the archaeological remains buried in one of Charlottesville’s original city lots. The parcel of land at the southeast corner of present-day East Jefferson Street and Second Street NE was designated Lot 8 on the original plan, and today it is home to the McIntire Building, the city’s first public library and the current ACHS headquarters.”

Lot 8 Excavation 2013

In the Architect’s Own Words

FROM THE JANUARY 1926 EDITION of Through the Ages, a trade journal published by the National Associate of Marble Dealers, comes this brief but enlightening piece by architect Walter Dabney Blair about his public library project in Charlottesville, which had only recently opened. “The Library at Charlottesville, VA by Walter Dabney Blair.”

Through the Ages 1926

The Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society is an independent 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to exploring and sharing the history of Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville—where our local story is the story of the nation. Every chapter in America’s history is written in rich detail here in the Virginia Piedmont; from the native peoples who called this land home for thousands of years, to the earliest European exploration, the founding of a British colony, the “Founding Fathers” of the American Revolution, the national stain of slavery and the U.S. Civil War, European immigration, and more. From the early effort to create public education in America, to advance the cause of science and medicine, from the struggle to end human slavery and to secure the full rights and dignity of all human beings,from the Civil Rights Movement to the Women’s Movement to the Student Movement and beyond; so many unforgettable, dramatic moments in our national story all took place right here, and we continue to make history.

Founded in the Spring of 1940 to coordinate the work of local history enthusiasts, the founders of our organization were motivated to discover and preserve important historic documents, as well as to conduct original research and to share their findings. Since our founding eight decades ago, we have grown and changed in a variety of ways to encompass new programs and exciting projects. We are a historical society reimagining and reinventing our role in the twenty-first century. We are a research library and a scholarly magazine. We are a museum of history and culture. We are walking tours and online programs. We are a one-of-a-kind archive of historic papers, photographs, artwork, and memorabilia. We are a strong civic organization dedicated to research, learning, and sharing. We are here for all who want to learn more about the diversity of our community’s history, to discover our shared experiences, and to promote a greater understanding of our past. Click on the links below to learn more about the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society—our story, our staff and board, our projects, and our policies.

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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]