Harrison County was created from Monongalia County, Virginia in 1784 and was named for Benjamin Harrison, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Clarksburg, which was originally chartered in 1785, became the county seat.
The first Harrison County Courthouse was erected in 1787 at a cost of $550. It was located on the corner of Main Street and 2nd Street, one block from its current location. The frame building was constructed on eight stone piers about ten feet in height and citizens tied their horses to the pillars while conducting business inside the courthouse.
The second courthouse was a two-story brick building located at the corner of Main Street (then called Market) and 3rd Street, the same site as the present one. It cost $3,700 and was completed in 1811. A large tree trunk served as a whipping post at the rear of this structure.
The third courthouse, built in 1856, was on the same site as the second. It was a two story brick building with a cupola on top and had a wrought-iron balcony over the front entrance.
In 1888, a three story brick courthouse was erected at a bid of $46,000. A bell, as well as a clock, were saved from prior courthouses and placed in the tower. When it was only forty-four years old, the citizens opted to replace it with a $750,000 building – the present courthouse. John W. Davis, a native son and presidential nominee in 1924, gave the principal address at the dedication in 1932.
Today, located at the corner of 3rd Street and W. Main Street, the Harrison County Courthouse and the Courthouse Plaza are focal points of the City of Clarksburg. Throughout Clarksburg’s history, this area has been the traditional meeting place for events and is the site of many of the city’s historical monuments and markers.
On November 24th, 1860, just after the election of Abraham Lincoln as president, a pro-Union meeting was held to support staying with the Union after the State of Virginia had threatened to secede from the United States of America. Harrison County was among the first counties in Western Virginia to support remaining in the Union prior to the Civil War. At a Courthouse meeting in April of 1861, the men of Harrison County voted, overwhelmingly, to stay in the Union. A plaque commemorating those meetings is situated in the Courthouse Plaza.
Honoring the Immigrants
Clarksburg’s tribute to the immigrants that helped build the community is also featured in the Courthouse Plaza. Denoting a diverse ethnic community, a sculpture entitled “The Immigrants” stands proudly in the southwest quadrant of the Courthouse Plaza.
Tribute to “Stonewall” Jackson
Although the people of Clarksburg supported the Union cause during the Civil War, it still has honored one of Clarksburg’s most famous birth sons with a statue in the Courthouse Plaza. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, reputed to be the third best known individual to support the Confederate States of America, next to Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee, is depicted on horseback. This statue is in the northeast quadrant of the Courthouse Plaza.
Memorial to Those Who Served
Honoring all veterans that came from West Virginia, in all conflicts, a memorial also sits in the southeast corner at the site of the Courthouse Plaza
A Proud Ship Lost
Honoring those who gave their lives and honoring those who served on the USS West Virginia, which sank on December 7, 1941, the Bow Flag Staff was presented to the people of West Virginia and it stands proudly in the southeast corner of the Courthouse Plaza.
Purple Heart Memorial
“Some gave all, All gave some” is a memorial to wounded veterans of Clarksburg, West Virginia that sits on the northwest quadrant of the Plaza.
A Civil War History
A marker stands in the Courthouse Plaza denoting this Clarksburg location as the site of the Randolph Academy in 1785. It was also the home of Gen. Nathan Goff and John S. Carlile. Between 1861 and 1865, this was the site of a Union army supply depot and General George B. McClellan had his headquarters here in 1861 until the Battle of Bull Run.
Today, like the past, the Courthouse Plaza is the main stage area for many of the events and festivals that take place in Clarksburg. The Harrison County Courthouse and the Courthouse Plaza still remain the gathering place for the citizens of Clarksburg and Harrison County.
Greater Clarksburg Convention & Visitors Bureau
215 South Third Street, Ste. 101
Clarksburg WV. 26301
For information on Greater Clarksburg and surrounding areas please fill in the form below