MHT File Photo
Washington County Courthouse
95, West Washington Street, Hagerstown, Washington County
The Washington County Court House is located on the corner of Washington Street and Summit Avenue, facing north onto West Washington Street. Dated 1872, the courthouse is a 2-story red brick structure with white trim and decorative work in brownstone. The building is 7 bays in width with projecting end bays and a central tower on the façade. The foundations of coursed limestone are from an earlier courthouse which burned. Walls are laid in all stretcher bond except for ornamental header brickwork. The mansard roof is covered with shingles. The wall surface is broken by projecting corner towers faced with pilasters and a higher central tower which holds the main entrance. These vertical elements are complemented by horizontal recessed brick and projecting brownstone ornamentation. A white beltcourse, apparently of wood, runs between the first and second stories and rises to form a decorative gable over the main entrance. The expanse of the mansard roof is interrupted by the face of the central tower which carries an indented archway with the state seal of Maryland. Above the arch is a decorative circular opening. Windows on the first and second stories have arched heads which hold fanlights. The second floor openings are wider and longer than those at the first story. The main entrance is located in the center bay of the façade, with a semicircular fanlight. Other entrances on the façade are present in the end bays. The eaves are finished with a broad frieze decorated with medallions above each window and brackets over each pilaster; the frieze is thought to be of galvanized iron worked to look like stone. The cornerstone of the building was laid in 1872, and the annex was built in 1963.
The major significance of the Washington County Court House is its architecture. Dating from 1872, it is Italianate in style, examples of which are unusual in western Maryland. Although it was built during the Victorian period and younger than many of Washington County's buildings, the courthouse is an excellent example of later 19th century architecture for a public building.