Skip to content
Home » US States » V-Z » West Virginia » McDowell County

McDowell County

McDowell County is named for James McDowell, who was a Governor of Virginia.


Surrounding County Courthouses: 

N – Mingo County and Wyoming County

E – Mercer County

S – Tazewell County, Virginia

W – Buchanan County, Virginia


Created:  February 20, 1858                  Map of West Virginia highlighting McDowell County

County Seat: 

Wilco         1866 – 1872

Perryville   1872 – 1892

Welch        1892 – present


County Courthouse – Welch


Location:  90 Wyoming Street / Court Street

Built:  1893 – 1894

Style:  Richardsonian Romanesque

Architect:  Frank Pierce Milburn of Washington, DC

Contractor:  G W Rush and C H Rush


Description:  The building faces west and is a two story rough stone structure. The building sits atop a hillside overlooking downtown Welch. The west front has a projecting center section with the main entrance which is recessed beneath a stone frontispiece of Byzantine-style columns supporting a balustraded architrave. Above is an arch rising to a peak at the roof line. On the north side is a large square stone clock tower with steep roof. The roof is sloped. In the interior, the cast iron stairway ascends to the courtroom, which occupies the entire second story. In 1909 an addition was added. The architect was W E Shuffleberger and E L Shuffleberger.  Another addition was added in 1961. On the north side is the County Jail also constructed in 1893 to 1894. Further additions were constructed in 1979 and 1963. On the north side is the County Jail constructed in 1965 replacing the 1894 jail.


See:  The architect Frank Pierce Milburn of Washington, DC.


See:  National Register of Historic Places – McDowell County Courthouse


History:  The county was created in 1858 and Wilco was selected as the county seat in 1866. The first court met at the home of George Payne. The first courthouse was a one and a half story log and stone structure erected in 1866. The county seat was moved to Perryville in 1872. The second courthouse was a two story log structure built in 1872. The county seat was moved to Welch in 1892. The third and present courthouse was constructed in 1893 to 1894 at a cost of $43,656 including the jail.



County Courthouse – Welch































Photos taken 2012