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History rebuilt

By Staff | Jul 14, 2010

The Tyler County Courthouse in Middlebourne is now surrounded by scaffolding, as work to restore the historic structure is set to begin. (Photos by Heather Smith)

The Tyler County Courthouse is receiving some much needed improvements after the County Commission was awarded a grant in the amount of $95,000 to do some restorations to the historic building.

Vice President of the County Commission John Stender said they have spent a total of $83,000 of that grant so far on the Courthouse dome and the clock tower.

“It’s a historic building,” said Stender. “Some parts are deteriorating rapidly and we need to get it fixed. We just can’t ignore it.”

Stender said there is more that needs to be done. The courtroom on the top floor hasn’t been renovated since the 1970’s and the concrete steps in the front of the building are in need of replacement. Stender stated those areas will be scenes of future projects.

“Tim Meeks has done an outstanding job with getting the grants for us,” said Stender.

Originally constructed in 1854, the Tyler County Courthouse is located on the corner of Main and Dodd Streets in Middlebourne, the county-seat of Tyler. The present county buildings are the latest of a series of structures that have occupied this parcel.

In 1854, the two-story brick building replaced the one built in 1820. It is this structure, though radically altered and completely redesigned in 1922, that stands today by two West Virginia architects, Holmboe and Pogue. They were contracted to design a modest but impressive courthouse that would reflect the tastes and needs of a small rural community.

The resulting building is a vernacular interpretation of Noe Classical Revival, an architectural style that was popular during the early 20th century. The courthouse’s main entrance and clock tower express this return to classical architecture especially well.

The symmetry of the main entrance, the limestone pilasters and balustrade on the entrance’s second story, the triangular pediment with the denticulated cornice and sculpted figures, and the frieze incised with the word “Tyler County Courthouse” echo the permanence and solidity typical of classical Roman architecture.

The symmetry of the clock tower, which has a brick base with an arcaded rail and stone urns, a louvered belfry, and a copper-covered dome, also reflects aspects of classical architecture.

In other business, Tom Cooper, director of Tyler County Office of Emergency Management, conducted an investigation and found that Wetzel County charges a $20 flat fee and charge $2 per thousand of the cost of a new structure and an additional $2 in the flood wake zone.

Tyler County will follow suit after commissioners approved the rates for the flood plain ordinance.The next regular meeting will be held at 9 a.m. on July 27 at Tyler County Courthouse.