Barbour County, West Virginia

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Barbour County Courthouse is located at 8 North Main Street, Philippi WV 26416; phone: 304-457-3952.


The Barbour County Courthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Text below was selected and transcribed from a copy of the original nomination document. [1]

The Barbour County Courthouse is significant because it is an especially good example of the Romanesque Revival style perfected by architect Henry H. Richardson (1838-1886) in late nineteenth-century America. The monumental building is a major focal point in the city of Philippi, county seat of Barbour, and dominates the courthouse square, the only public green space in the downtown commercial area. Architectural value of the building is further stressed by reason of its being the only major stone building designed in the Romanesque style.

Barbour County was formed from the territories of Harrison, Lewis and Randolph counties by an act of the Virginia General Assembly in 1843. It was named for Phillip P. Barbour, a distinguished politician and jurist, and a member of a noted Virginia family. A play of land then after called the Courthouse Square was deeded to the new county and a Greek Revival style courthouse ordered. It stood until the turn of the century when requirements of space and economy necessitated its removal for replacement. The open space around the newly planned building was retained, however, insuring the evolution of the town center around the county's chief symbol of government.

Architect J. Charles Fulton of Uniontown, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, was hired by the county court to prepare plans for the new courthouse. His drawings and specifications were not apparently applied to project by contractor J. P. Conn until 1903 because delays, in part a result of a petition requesting the removal if the county seat to Belington, impaired the operations of the county court.

J. Charles Fulton was an architect of local significance who filled a professional need in the region of southwestern Pennsylvania and north-central West Virginia. The West Virginia cities of Morgantown, Fairmont, and Clarksburg were only beginning to attract resident professional architects and their activity did not become well established before the end of the first decade of the twentieth century. Fulton's talent, therefore, commanded attention in this area as evidenced by his commission to design the Randolph County Courthouse built at Elkins in 1902-1904.

  1. Collins, Rodney S., W.V. Department of Culture and History, Barbour County Courthouse, Philippi, West Virginia, nomination document, 1979, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

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