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Wetzel County Courthouse

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1900–1902, James A. Chaplin (Chaplin and Alexander), architect. W. Chamberlain and Company, builder. Northwest corner of Main and Washington sts.
  • Wetzel County Courthouse (Library of Congress)
  • (West Virginia Collection within the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)

This imposing Richardsonian Romanesque courthouse, the chief work of a local architect, was built over a two-year period at a cost of $175,000. Its warm-hued sandstone walls are laid in regular courses of quarry-faced blocks. Square towers capped with steep, pyramidal, red tile roofs project from the corners, echoing the massive belfry and clock tower that rises between them. The front porch, along with Ionic pilasters supporting pedimented stone tabernacle frames that buttress the clock tower, adds a curiously classical note to the ensemble.

To the south, at the street corner, is the main ornament of the small courthouse lawn, a statue of pioneer Levi Morgan. Clad in buckskin, with long rifle in hand, he stands at ease atop a tall granite shaft. Immediately north of the courthouse is a rather plain yellow brick Queen Anne sheriffs residence with the jail behind it, which dates from 1897–1901. These buildings were designed by the Wheeling firm of Franzheim, Giesey and Faris.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.

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