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Barbour County Courthouse

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1903–1905, J. Charles Fulton. Courthouse Square, bounded by Main, Church, Walnut, and Court sts.
  • Barbour County Courthouse (West Virginia Division of Culture and History, Michael Keller)

This impressive Richardsonian Romanesque building quietly and reassuringly dominates Philippi from the center of the public square. A late example of its style, the courthouse is the work of architect J. Charles Fulton of Uniontown, Pennsylvania. Fulton, who also designed the Randolph and Doddridge County courthouses, gave Barbour an imposing, rock-faced structure with walls laid in alternating bands of broad and narrow ashlar. Mortar was carefully colored to match the dark umber Cleveland sandstone. Slightly projecting, smooth-faced stone stringcourses provide a horizontal note, while bright red pantiles on the prominent roof provide a colorful one.

The two-and-one-half-story courthouse measures some 95 feet by 60 feet and is dominated by a four-story tower projecting from the facade. The recessed main entrance, adjacent to the battered tower base, is covered by a smooth, arched surround, supported on typically squat Romanesque columns. To the right of the arch, a single engaged column rises to the second-story stringcourse to support absolutely nothing. A similar feature at Fulton's Randolph County Courthouse ( RN4) supports a figure of Justice, which may have been the intent here.

The county's World War I memorial, a bronze statue titled Spirit of the American Doughboy, stands in the northwest corner of the lawn. Its inscription notes that the design was copyrighted by E. M. Viquesney, sculptor, of Americus, Georgia. Depicting a soldier in a tangle of barbed wire with a bayoneted rifle in one hand and a grenade in the other, the statue is virtually identical to one at the Boone County Courthouse ( BO1). There, the monument is executed in marble, and Viquesney's address is listed as Spencer, Indiana. East of the courthouse, across Walnut Street, two miniature office buildings, one clapboarded, the other board and batten, are good examples of small, one-room lawyer's offices once typical of courthouse communities.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.

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