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Bluefield Area Arts and Crafts Center (Municipal Building)
Bluefield's elected officials participated in the city's 1920s boom by replacing the 1892 city hall with this multipurpose building, erected to house city offices, a public library, an auditorium, and a jail. After citizens approved a bond issue to provide funds, Columbus, Ohio, architect Wilbur T. Mills was commissioned to design the building, with local architects Garry and Sheffey as associates.
Sited on the rise of a hill overlooking downtown, the building has a facade centered with a shallow, recessed Ionic portico. Three-quarter columns rise from an arcaded base that shelters the principal entrance. The portico is of Indiana limestone, and walls are faced with buff brick, rusticated on the first floor. Inside, a handsome, three-story, galleried atrium, lit by skylights, serves as the major circulation space. Over the years parts of the building have been modified in various degrees, the most drastic change being the conversion of the auditorium to a garage, made possible by the solidity of the original steel and reinforced concrete construction. In 1977 the city government moved to a new structure, and this building was subsequently restored to serve as a municipal arts and crafts center, visitors bureau, and, in the reconstructed auditorium, theater.
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