Summers County Courthouse
Designed by architect Frank P. Milburn, the Summers County Courthouse was built in three stages. Since its original construction in 1875, the Summers County Courthouse has served as the county's government seat. The building is significant for its architecture and its association with Milburn; the courthouse is Hinton's most distinctive example of 19th-century Eclecticism and representative of Milburn's early work.
Backstory and Context
The original design of the building in 1875 was a 48-foot square, two-story, brick building. It had a hip roof with a small dormer on each slope.1 Between 1893 and 1898, Frank P. Milburn guided the rehabilitation and redesign of the courthouse. Milburn was based out of Huntington during this period and traveled by railroad to all his commissions.2 Milburn developed a standard Courthouse design early in his career which featured corner towers, curvilinear gables, and Romanesque accents. In addition to the Summers County Courthouse, Milburn also designed the Putnam County Courthouse; this was the only other West Virginia Courthouse with these characteristics.3
In 1923, the rear addition was added.4 The addition is a different color brick but continues Milburn's towers. This addition tripped the available office space in the courthouse. Another addition in 1940 added a 32-foot flat roof space for fire proof rooms and a vault.5
1 C.E. Turley and Rodney S. Collins (Jan 5, 1980). National Register of Historic Places Nomination: Summers County Courthouse (pdf). National Park Service.
2 Vivian, D. (2005). “A Practical Architect”: Frank P. Milburn and the Transformation of Architectural Practice in the New South, 1890–1925. Winterthur Portfolio,40(1), 17-46. doi:10.1086/500153
3 Alan R. Row and Jim Hines (Nov 19, 1999). National Register of Historic Places Nomination: Putnam County Courthouse (pdf). National Park Service.
4 Turley and Collins, Summers County Courthouse.