Saturday, November 10, 2007
The Heart of Port Tobacco
Without the downtown port, lost to sediment that choked off the river one mile south of the town, the courthouse was the heart of Port Tobacco until fire claimed the central portion of the courthouse in 1892. The two wings of the building were left standing and in this photo their presence only draws the viewers attention to what has been lost. Between the courthouse wings we can make out the second story of the jailhouse which sat behind the courthouse. In the far left is the Episcopal Christ Church. In the far right is the Smoot House, a boarding house.
The destruction of Port Tobacco's courthouse solidified plans to relocate the county seat to nearby La Plata. A new courthouse and jail were constructed there. Not long afterwards, Port Tobacco's Christ Church was slowly dismantled and reconstructed in La Plata, there is reclaimed its place beside the Charles County courthouse. The heart of Port Tobacco was essentially transplanted into the body of La Plata.
Relocated Christ Church and new County Courthouse (1953).
Circa 1900 Jailhouse constructed behind the earlier version of the La Plata courthouse.