As I was planning out my short drive between Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio, I spotted a town slightly off the interstate named Washington Court House. That sounds interesting, I thought, I wonder if there’s a nice courthouse there. Google Street View confirmed there was in fact a spectacular courthouse there, so I turned off the interstate and headed to one of Ohio’s fabled small towns to check it out. Having lived on the East Coast near Virginia for years, I know that there’s a tradition of naming towns in such a manner (Appomattox Court House is perhaps the most famous), and supposedly this town was founded by settlers from that state.
I parked near downtown and started checking out the architecture, including this Gothic Revival church, which to have been restored recently.
There is a wide variety of housing styles, as one would expect in a town of its age.
But one thing that is interesting is that Washington Court House’s name was not codified into law until 1910, with its appellation only being a nickname before that.
The courthouse square, however, is where the action is. There are some incredibly old buildings, such as this very rare three-story Greek Revival storefront building below.
It’s part of a row of well-preserved commercial buildings, which are being renovated into coffee shop and other stores.
There was even a new coffee shop featuring pour overs, like you would get in a big city! It was being run by a couple of young guys who were into photography and we chatted about our respective work. It’s called Vinyl Coffee Roasters and they also have a recording studio.
There was very little vacancy in this little town square.
And of course, there is a mason’s lodge, as every small town has, on one side of the square.
We’ll talk more about the amazing courthouse for Fayette County tomorrow.
Heading northeast out of town on the US highway, there are more amazing houses.
This Gothic Revival cottage is actually a duplex, if you look closely below.
These last two houses are actually in a small town called Mount Sterling, which was on the way back to the interstate leading to Columbus.