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
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.