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Putnam County was created in 1848, and Winfield was selected as the county seat due to its proximity to the Kanawha River. The courthouse was designed in 1900 by architect Frank Piece Milburn in the Romanesque Revival style with design features such as towers and arches. New additions were added in 1953, 1963, and 1974.
Backstory and Context
Red House Shoals was the name of the area before the assigning of the county seat. The old 1848 courthouse building was starting to fall apart. Soon there was a plan to create a new building. M. Hensley, E.S. Honaker, and M.V.B. Deal who were commissioners at the time, were to decide on a contractor to start building the county seat building replacement. They chose A.D. and S.J. Ross of Kenova. The two brothers did not post a bond that was needed to start the building process and pushed the entire project to a standstill. The annual county taxes were found too small an amount to start the construction on the building and there was an attempt to get a bond issue put on the Election Day ballot1.
Three years passed by and part of the old courthouse collapsed in the midst of a storm in 1899. This building was deemed no longer usable and the county seat was moved to a church. For the rest of the year, what remained of the old courthouse was torn down. This was the start of building a new county courthouse. Almost exactly one year after the storm that collapsed part of the old courthouse, the county had its new county courthouse building1.
Today, the Putnam County Courthouse includes vital statistics (birth, death, and marriage certificates), County Clerk, Circuit Clerk, Assessor’s Office as well as other important governmental offices.