The Upshur County Courthouse
Upshur County was created in 1851 and Buckhannon was selected as the county seat. The first court met at the Bbuckhannon home of Andrew Poundstone in 1851.
The first courthouse was built in 1854 at a cost of $7,300. The second and present courthouse was constructed in 1899 to 1901 at a cost of $37,650. The County courthouse Annex was constructed between 1993 and 1995.
The Upshur County Courthouse building faces north and is a two story red colored brick, stone and concrete structure.
The building is located on landscaped grounds in the center of Buckhannon at the corner of West Main and South Locust Streets.
The north front has a large portico with four high Corinthian columns rising to a pediment at the roof line.
The central first story entrance has a small pediment above with large fanlight and decoration on the second story.
On the center of the roof is a large octagonal dome with columns, windows and a white colored dome clock tower, which we're featuring here today.
In the interior, the courtroom is located on the second story.
The interior was remodeled in 1970. The architect was Richard L Smith Associates of Charleston and the contractor was Baker & Combs, Inc. of Morgantown.
In 2007, the buildings were restored. The architect was Chapman Technical Group and the contractors were Huffman Corporation, Allegheny Restoration & Builders, Inc. and Keystone Waterproofing Inc.
County Courthouse Annex – Buckhannon
The Annex faces north and is a three story masonry structure clad in red colored brick.
The building forms an “L” shape joining the courthouse on the west side and having a south wing and an east wing.
The north front has a curved porch with four white colored columns. The roof is hipped.
The building houses the County Circuit Court of the 26th Judicial Circuit, County Magistrates Court and Family Court.
The building is named as the Judge Jack Dowell Jennings Annex.
The following was authored by S. Allen Chambers, Jr. and captures the essence of the architecture:
This impressive Colonial Revival structure, an early work by a well-known West Virginia architect, is fronted by a monumental Corinthian portico with coupled columns.
Behind and above the pediment, an over-sized cupola with a large octagonal drum somehow manages successfully to straddle both the porch roof and the hipped roof of the main block.
In his design, Albright may have been striving to recall the antebellum courthouse that stood on the same site. That structure, like this one, had an impressive portico and octagonal domed cupola.
The courthouse is built of brick, painted red, above a partially exposed, quarry-faced sandstone foundation. To the east, the Jennings Annex (1995, Chapman Technical Group) connects to the older building through a second-story bridge over a driveway.
This splendidly respectful contextual addition adheres to the wishes of its donor, the late Judge Jack Dowell Jennings. His will, which provided the funds, also contained the directive that the annex “complement and magnify the beauty and grandeur of the parent courthouse built by a prior generation.”
Red brick walls with carefully tinted mortar match the painted walls of the courthouse, and a denticulated and modillioned cornice echoes that on the older building. Carved stone was deemed too expensive, so the annex entablature is composed of polystyrene covered with concrete substitutes.