The Kanawha County Courthouse is comprised of three stately Romanesque-style buildings, located on the corner of Virginia and Court streets in Charleston. Built in 1892, this incredible structure has been listed at in the National Register of Historic Places since September 6, 1978.
The County Courthouse has come a long way from its humble beginnings. The orginal structure in its current location was a protective fort, built by George Clendenin and his brothers, who arrived in Charleston in 1788. On the corner of what’s now known as Brook Street and Kanawha Boulevard stands Fort Lee, Kanawha County’s first courthouse.
During those times, Kanawha Boulevard was still known as Front Street. This served as the main thoroughfare in those days, serving both land and river travel. The Courthouse faced the river then. It was when river traffic died and Virginia Street became a main road that the entrance of courthouse was transfered to face the city.
It was replaced by a one-storey log structure, Kanawha’s first “official” courthouse. A second building was built next to the courthouse, which served as the county’s jail. It housed a two-cell jail — one for debtors, the other for criminals. It also has an apartment for the jailer’s family, and at the back of the building, there was a whipping post, pillory and stock.
A more stable structure made of brick replaced the log structure in 1817, which served as the county courthouse until 1892, when the first segment of the current Courthouse was built. A second segment was built in 1917, which was built near Kanawha Boulevard. The third segment, the Virginia Street, was added in 1924. In 1985, a modern annex to the courthouse was built across the street.
Kanawha County Courthouse
409 Virginia Street, East
Charleston, West Virginia