Ritchie County Court House, Harrisville
Address: 115 East Main Street,
Harrisville, WV 26362
The Court House in Ritchie County is one of the most beautiful in West Virginia. Both the exterior and interior are ornate and the grounds around the Court House are landscaped and well kept. The first Court House came in 1844, one year after the formation of the county. This old time building served the county until 1874, when a brick building took its place and served the county until 1922.
In August of 1922, the Ritchie County Bar Association presented a resolution to the County Court, in which they put forth the idea that the Court House was inadequate to meet the needs of the people. They requested that the County Court take steps to correct the situation. The attorneys signing the resolution were: R.S. Blair, President; Victor Cooper, Secretary; S. O. Prunty; William S. Clark and S. A. Powell
Request for bids was published and an architect employed. In December 1922, a contract was awarded to Forman and Putnam, Contractors of Marietta, Ohio. Their bid was $68,000. Of this amount, $66,000 was for general work, and $2,500 for Indiana Limestone for the exterior of the building. Later a bid was submitted to build a portico at a cost of $11,925 and the addition of the tower (without the clock) for $5,817. The project was completed in late 1923. The building had an annex on the right side and was attached to the main building by a walkway. Located in the annex were the offices of the County Clerk and the Circuit Clerk. When the building was remodeled extra space was added and the original building and the annex were incorporated into the building, as it appears today.
The Harrisville Woman's Club raised funds to purchase the clock for the Court House Tower in 1924. The County Court gave the Woman's Club permission to use two rooms in the basement of the Court House for meeting rooms for both their meetings and other community meetings. These rooms continued to be used for meeting rooms until 1973. At this time it became evident to the County Commission more office space was needed for county offices and the commission asked the Woman's Club to vacate the rooms. At this time several offices were remodeled and relocated in the building. Efforts were made to keep the original decor. The Circuit Court room and the adjoining judge's chambers are especially outstanding with the original woodwork preserved.
The County jail was built in 1869, and served the needs of the people until 1977 when it was closed by the County Commission because of the fire marshal’s finding that the facility was unsafe, and recommended that the old facility be replaced. The county used the jail facility at West Union, Doddridge County, until the new jail was built on the former jail site at 109 North Street. It began operations on September 1st, 1982.
(Published by The Ritchie County Historical Society, lnc.; “The History of Ritchie County. West Virginia, To 1980")