The Victorian Romanesque Monongalia County Courthouse and Italianate jailer’s residence lie adjacent to one another. In fact, in 1922, an enclosed bridge was built between the second story of the courthouse and the jail to allow for secure transportation of individuals from the jail to the courthouse.
The current Victorian Romanesque style Monongalia County Courthouse was built in 1891. However, it is the fourth courthouse to rest on its site. The first three courthouses were built in 1784, 1802, and 1848. Additionally, a wooden statue of Patrick Henry, Virginia’s governor when Monongalia County was formed in 1776, was added to the 1848 courthouse in 1851.
In 1884, the 1848 courthouse was declared dangerous, but the county court postponed plans to build a new courthouse due to opposition from county residents. On September 13, 1890, county officials, supported by circuit court officials and local attorneys, took matters into their own hands. At midnight, they removed the records from the courthouse and ordered demolition to begin. By the time county residents awoke the next day, the building was beyond saving. Citizens sought a court injunction but no lawyer would take their case.
The builders laid the cornerstone of the current courthouse on West Virginia Day (June 20th) of 1891, and the building was completed later that year. The statue of Patrick Henry that adorned the previous courthouse remains in the turret of the courthouse today.
The Monongalia County Courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.
Check out the full National Register listing for the Monongalia County Courthouse here.
Learn more about the Monongalia County Courthouse via the Historic Downtown Morgantown Audio Walking Tour.