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Pleasants County Courthouse

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1924–1925, Holmboe and Pogue. On axis with George St. at its southeast end
  • (West Virginia Collection within the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)

During the height of the turn-of-the-century oil and gas boom, county commissioners hired Frank P. Milburn to design a courthouse to replace an 1850s building. Milburn proposed a monumental Beaux-Arts classical structure, with pedimented porticoes on at least three sides, and with a large octagonal drum and dome above. The architect proudly showed a drawing in his 1903 promotional volume, but the courthouse was never built. He did, however, use some of the same features several years later in remodeling the Berkeley County Courthouse ( BE1). Only after lightning struck and damaged the 1850s building in 1923 did Pleasant County's commissioners decide to replace it.

Clarksburg architects Holmboe and Pogue designed a severe two-story brick block, rectangular in plan and eleven bays long. A heavy four-columned Greek Doric portico is the only concession to architectural finesse, but it bears a tenuous connection to the building it fronts. The site is impressive, as the building stands on a high bluff on axis with George Street, which leads to the Ohio River. Too bad this temple of justice isn't as worthy of its acropolis as Milburn's design would have been.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.


What's Nearby


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

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