Preston County Courthouse Complex
Backstory and Context
On the Courthouse lawn is a cannon, last fired in April, 1861 in defense of Fort Sumter. This cannon was called a Columbian Siege Gun. It is 12 feet long, has an 8 inch bore, and weighs 8,500 pounds. The Town fathers, thinking the cannon weighed 51,000 pounds, buried stone ten feet deep under the foundation for the cannon. It took three teams of horses to bring the cannon uptown from the Morgantown and Kingwood Railroad station. Plans for the Soldier's Monument, which stands on the lawn, began in 1893. Lunches and dinners were served at the courthouse to raise funds for the project. One year later, the site on the Courthouse lawn was selected. Preston County led the entire United States in Union patriotism by volunteering the largest percentage of its population to government service. After almost ten years of raising the money, the statue was placed on top of the 36 foot high monument of white beryl granite from Vermont. On the day of dedication, 5,000 visitors attended, including one hundred Civil War veterans. The Preston County Jail, built in 1925, sits just west of the courthouse. It is constructed of Kingwood sandstone.