Traveling around the small towns and back roads of West Virginia, occasionally I came across a big beautiful building. Of course there are many beautiful churches around, but I thought a lot of these courthouses and government buildings were really wonderful to photograph. The Cover Photo for this post is the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston. Just the name gives me the creeps, but knowing it was in use until 1994 is staggering. Same goes for the West Virginia State Penitentiary in Moundsville which was in use until 1995. Some of these courthouses have amazing stories. The Jefferson County Courthouse in Charles Town was the site of John Brown's trial for leading a slave uprising in 1859. It was also the site of the miners' trials after the Battle of Blair Mountain. The McDowell County Courthouse in Welch was the site where Sid Hatfield was gunned down by Baldwin Felts agents in retaliation for his participation in the Matewan Massacre. I've included a photo from West Virginia's Independence Hall in Wheeling as well, the courthouse where delegates debated independence after the Virginia seceded from the Union in 1861. And lastly, there is a picture of the State Capitol Building in Charleston, a remarkable building  which is taller than the U.S. Capitol in my hometown of Washington D.C. The statue in the photo is probably my favorite statue of a U.S. President in the country. It shows a tormented Lincoln in his bedclothes, walking with his head down and obviously deep in thought. I think most presidents have had these moments, and those are human moments. These were all men, after all, not gods. From the first time I saw this statue, I was somewhat in awe of it, especially in front of a Sate Capitol. But admitting West Virginia to the Union was a hard decision with far reaching consequences. It was not a decision Lincoln would have taken lightly. These are some of the true architectural gems from my month in West Virginia.  

Berkeley County Courthouse, Martinsburg

Ritchie County Courthouse, Harrisville

McDowell County Courthouse, Welch

Barbour County Courthouse, Philippi

Marion County Courthouse, Faimont

West Virginia Independence Hall 

Jefferson County Courthouse, Charles Town

Lincoln Walks at Midnight, WV State Capitol

West Virginia State Penitentiary, Moundsville