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Doddridge County Courthouse

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1899–1903, J. Charles Fulton. Court Square (bounded by Court, Church, High, and Chancery sts.)
  • Doddridge County Courthouse

Built during the height of Doddridge County's petroleum prosperity, this bold Romanesque Revival structure stands tall and proud on a steep acropolis overlooking West Union. The building is faced with hard-pressed, dark red brick, but the foundations, cavernous arched entrance surround, window trim, and belt courses display a plethora of quarry-faced sandstone. Large carved letters above the voussoirs at the entrance spell out Courthouse—as if anyone couldn't tell. To the left of the entrance, a tall tower with clock faces in its top stage terminates in pointed gables that partially screen a pyramidal steeple. A shorter tower on the opposite side of the entrance, round in section and capped with a conical roof, adds a bit of balance. A white-painted figure of Justice holding scales stands on a corbeled stone pedestal in the apex of the steep gable between the towers. She is properly blindfolded, but this may be simply because she is afraid of being perched at such a dizzying height. The multiplaned roof is covered with red tiles.

This is the one of J. Charles Fulton's three West Virginia courthouses. The massing is closely related to that of the other two, at Philippi ( BA3) and Elkins ( RN4), but both of those structures are faced entirely with quarryfaced stone, rather than the combination of brick and stone seen here.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.

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