Learning more about the Barbour courthouse
PHILIPPI — Several members of the public and the sponsoring Barbour County Chamber of Commerce were privileged recently with an intimate look at the historic documents and rarely-seen records in and about the Barbour County courthouse Circuit Clerk Gerald Fogg’s hour-long presentation in the costume of the period is available to local groups and organizations and may be scheduled by calling the office of the Circuit Clerk at 304-457-3454.
Although the Barbour County courthouse was dedicated in 1903 as a replacement for the original building constructed by the first session of the Barbour County court in 1843, the restoration of the exterior of the current courthouse was begun in 1995 and the true renovation of the Victorian courtroom was completed in the year 2000.
The Barbour County courthouse restoration was the dream of Circuit Judge Alan Moats, who called it one of the most beautiful courthouses in the state of West Virginia. The entire courthouse project included the repair of the roof, cleaning and repointing the stonework, and the repair and restoration of the original stained glass, all done at minimal cost, thanks to the contributions in money, materials and the volunteer labor of local citizens. The courthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
Fogg’s extensive display of historic artifacts and publications included the original deed to the courthouse square, the act to suppress dueling in Virginia, a license to keep a public house of entertainment in Philippi, tax rates for livestock, the 1843 order to name the town Phillippa (officially changed to Philippi in 1869,) the 1863 Act of the Virginia General Assembly creating the county of Barbour, the blueprint for the 1903 courthouse, and almost two dozen articles from the state’s Golden Seal Magazine containing stories about Barbour County.
Fogg concluded his program with a portion of a 20-minute film narrated by Circuit Judge Alan Moats describing the restoration of the Barbour County courthouse. A special guest at the open house was Shawn Nines, who was recently appointed as a judge for the 19th Judicial Circuit to serve alongside Judge Alan Moats.