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Roane County Courthouse

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1964–1965, R. L. Wilson and J. D. King. North side of Main St., between Church and Market sts. (Court Square, bordered by Main, Market, Court, and Church sts.)

This rectangular two-story building is faced with brownish-gray brick and fronted with a shallow portico formed by attenuated, unadorned piers veneered in white marble. The cornice they support is similarly unadorned and similarly veneered. Above the central entrance, a gold mesh and filigree screen features a cast aluminum sculpture of the state seal as its centerpiece. The architects called their work “traditional with contemporary flavor,” but they would have come closer to the mark by acknowledging a modicum of indebtedness to Edward Durrell Stone. Echoes of Stone's U.S. Embassy in New Delhi and his Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington may be faint, but had Stone not designed those horizontal rectangles with rows of thin supports and had he not embellished the embassy with metal grilles, this modest imitator would certainly have taken a different form.

The courthouse replaces a two-story 1889 building that was more or less Romanesque Revival. The red brick jail that stood behind the original courthouse still stands behind its successor.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.


What's Nearby


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

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