OLD FREDERICK COUNTY COURT HOUSE
(Restoration, Renovations, and Civil War Museum Exhibit Design)
20 North Loudoun Street
This Greek Revival Courthouse was built in 1840, on the main street in downtown Winchester, Virginia. Alterations made to the Courthouse over the years were removed during the renovation and restoration process, and the building’s oldest layers were exposed, repaired, and refinished. Civil War- era graffiti was uncovered during the selective demolition phase. The graffiti had been penciled and scratched into the plaster walls by both Union and Confederate soldiers, because the City of Winchester had changed hands over 70 times during the War. Many of the soldiers had written their names and military regiments on the walls, while others left behind poems, drawings, and even a large and angry curse to Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Renovation work included installing new metal stud walls, connected only at the floor and ceiling, in front of the old plaster walls, in order to protect them. Cut out of these new walls are display “windows,” lit with fiber optic lighting, that frame the original plaster and historic graffiti.
The first floor courtroom, which had served as a hospital during the Civil War, was restored to its original configuration; the ceiling was reconfigured, and the original lawyers’ bar was reinstalled. Structural repairs were made to the cupola bell tower, which had been in danger of collapsing. A new glass ceiling on the second floor allows museum visitors to see the internal, timber frame structure of the cupola and its 800- pound bell. A new, butt-glazed entry system allows the original, eleven foot high, solid wood doors to remain open, giving visitors a welcoming glimpse into the museum.
Builder: Lantz Construction Company of Winchester, Inc., Winchester, Virginia
Structural Engineer: Structural Concepts, Inc., Winchester, Virginia
Mechanical Engineer: Comfort Design, Inc., Winchester, Virginia
Photographer: Ron Blunt Photography, Hedgesville, West Virginia.