18. Morgan County Courthouse
The County Court complex fills the northern side of east Fairfax St. The Mercer St. corner was the site of the Dunn Hotel, built in 1903 after razing a livery. The hotel was damaged by arson in 1935. For two years the building was removed piecemeal while the site was proposed first for a community building, then a jail. By 1937 the corner lot was vacant and remained so until 1960 when the current structure was built. It served as the Berkeley Springs Post Office from 1961 until the Magistrate Court took possession in 2002.
The empty lot next door, until 1997, held one of the town's oldest structures: a covered-over log structure known in the 20th century as the Harmison then Heare building. It served as dwellings and shops. The County Commission office to the west is located in a much-renovated structure that became the town library in 1974.
The Morgan County Courthouse on the corner of Washington and Fairfax is the third since the county was established in 1820 from sections of Berkeley and Hampshire counties. The second courthouse was built on this site in 1845 after the first one, located at Wilkes and Fairfax streets, was destroyed in the 1844 fire. The current structure, with its clock tower, opened in September 1908. The stone urn in the reflecting pool of Berkeley Springs State Park was placed in front of courthouse #2 in 1891 by the Village Improvement Association then moved in 1908. An addition was constructed to the Courthouse in 1923. Today's courthouse is a neo-classic of light colored pressed brick, rustic sandstone trimmings and Ionic capitals on pilasters. Traditional awnings were restored in 2002.
Attached to the Courthouse on Washington Street is the Sheriff’s Office. It was renovated in 1989 from a jail and jailer’s residence most recently built in 1962, third in a series. The first jail built on on this site in 1874 generated complaints about windows that opened onto the town’s main street. The second jail was built in 1938 after considering several other sites.
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