The county seat of Wise, first known as Big Glade, was incorporated as Gladeville, and renamed Wise in 1924. Dominating the small town, this massive tan-colored brick courthouse is one of the most architecturally significant buildings in the region and one of five different southwestern Virginia courthouses designed by Milburn. The Renaissance Revival building on a rough-cut stone foundation has a first story of brick laid with deep joints to suggest rustication. The brick is laid smoothly on the upper walls, which are out-lined by stone quoins. Most of the windows are arched and the building's central pavilion finishes with a prominent stone balustrade and is flanked by pyramidal-roofed towers. The building lacks the clear horizontal definition characteristic of Renaissance Revival and its large-scale projections show the influence of Beaux-Arts Classicism. Imposing and confident, the building represents an era of prosperity for Wise County when the coal, timber, and railroad industries were bringing newfound wealth to the community.
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Wise County Courthouse
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