The Charleston City Hall is an impressive structure of symmetrically placed ornament and broad wall spaces. Designed by Charleston architect H. Rus Warne, the seemingly rectangular edifice is actually shaped like a “U” when viewed from the rear of the building.
Like most buildings in Charleston that was built in the 20’s, Warne designed the structure to reflect classic styles based on Renaissance and Beaux Arts traditions. The building is fronted by a grand flight of graninte steps, leading up to three massive arched doorways. Tall, evenly spaced wood windows line the sides of the building, accentuated by highly orante details. One building’s important architectural features, the windows has the strongest design elements, with pediments that alternate along the facade in a triangular and segmental geometry.
Inside the building, guests are welcomed by a grand high ceilinged lobby after passing through its wood and glass revolving door. Secondary doors are present, made of bronze with high plate and beveled glass panels. Monolithic Roman Doric columns made of fine grained marble divides the outer and inner lobby. A grand 7-flight stairway connects the four floors of the building, with an ornate cast metal rail that runs all the way to the top.
The Charleston City Hall was formally opened on August 31, 1922, in an lavish evening gala attended by one-third of Charleston’s population. They were welcomed by Mayor Hall, Architect Warne, contractor A. G. Higginbotham and project manager, Bonner H. Hill. After a tour of the building, it was described in the Charleston Gazette “…as integral parts, stone and steel, polished wood, dull bronze, beaten brass, costly rugs, glistening furniture, flowers, handsomely gowned women and all that is beautiful.”
Charleston City Hall
501 Virginia Street, E.,
Charleston, WV 25301