Barboursville Courthouse

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Completed in 1849, the old Barboursville Courthouse served Cabell County
until 1887 when the county seat was moved to Huntington.

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The Cabell County Courthouse stands in a park-like setting on
 8th Street in downtown Huntington. Itís the countyís fourth
courthouse but the only one built in Huntington.

Named for William H. Cabell, who served as Virginia governor
 from 1805 to 1808, Cabell County was formed in 1809. In
creating the new county, the Virginia lawmakers named a
 commission to locate a county seat, and that commission
recommended the courthouse be located in Guyandotte.

In 1813, however, Barboursville was successful in having the
county seat moved there, where it remained until the turmoil
of the Civil War prompted a temporary move back
to Guyandotte. The county seat returned to
Barboursville at the warís end.

The old courthouse at Barboursville was so badly deteriorated
that in 1849, the County Court resolved to build a new
 structure. It was completed in 1853 and used until
1887, when the voters approved a referendum
moving the county seat to Huntington.

The move to Huntington resulted from the new cityís rapid growth.
 Founded by rail tycoon Collis P. Huntington in 1871 as the western
terminus of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad, the town sprang into
existence in a very short period of time. In 1880, Huntingtonís
population was less than 2,000; by 1890, its population had
grown to more than 10,000. During the 1880s, Huntington
gained a water company, paved sidewalks, a telephone
system, electric lights, an electric streetcar
 line and natural gas service.

With the county government gone, the former courthouse in
 Barboursville briefly became home to the Barboursville
Seminary and then, when that venture failed, Barboursville
College. A gift from a generous benefactor saw the
school renamed Morris Harvey College. In 1935,
unable to successfully compete with Marshall,
Morris Harvey moved to Charleston where it
evolved into the University of Charleston.

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Note:  This Article and picture appeared in the Herald-Dispatch Newspaper on Feb. 20, 2024.

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