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Calhoun County Courthouse and Jail

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1941, T. T. Sansbury; Philip R. Lewis, builder. Town Square (Main and Market sts.)
  • Calhoun County Courthouse and Jail (Library of Congress)

This rather severe Moderne structure replaced an 1880s building that has been described simply as of red brick with a steeple. The present courthouse was designed by a Parkersburg architect and built with WPA funding. The mass, which features quarry-faced sandstone laid in alternating broad and narrow courses, is an uncompromising composition of planes and angles. Although the building is basically a twostory rectangular block, the centers of each face rise to three stories. A three-bay portico dressed in smooth ashlar provides an air more of protection than of welcome to the front entrance.

Although the courthouse is severe, the sheriff's residence and county jail, which occupy a rear corner of the town square, may take the prize for being the state's “prettiest” example of their genre. Built of the same sandstone, the ensemble appears at first glance to be a wellexecuted, if small, Tudor Revival dwelling. Wall dormers, steep gables, and casement windows add to the effect.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.


What's Nearby


S. Allen Chambers Jr., "Calhoun County Courthouse and Jail", [Grantsville, West Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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