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Built Environment of Greene County and Waynesburg


Recently, Greene County, and more specifically Waynesburg, has been undergoing a transformation.  The built environment, the houses, churches, courthouses, and all buildings are starting to be looked on as great assets for the county.  It is something that I am glad is finally happening, however, I am to be quickly corrected, for there has always been a deep love of the buildings in Greene County.  This is evidenced by the Courthouse in the center of Greene County.

This grand building has been standing since 1852.  It was built with grand corinthian columns and stands testimony to the Greek Revival style and its grand design.  Greek Revival was used with many government buildings in order to create a sense of democracy, from the Greeks.  True to this design, the Courthouse has not changed that use, and for the good has actually been refurbished to provide more room for a second judge in Greene County.

Perhaps a striking jolt from the past regarding the Courthouse comes from the pages of Waynesburg, Prosperous and Beautiful by Fred High.  This "souvenir pictorial story of the biggest and best little city in Pennsylvania" is where many of the historical pictures on this site can be found.  This book, issued in 1902 (reissued by Greene County Historical Society in 1973), says of the Courthouse:

"The present Court House was erected in 1852 and was one of the finest in its day, but it will soon give way to a modern building that will be in keeping with our growth and financial standing."

However, slow things in Greene County may seem, they are honestly for the better because buildings have been spared the horrible disasters that have befallen many towns in other parts of the county and world.

After my recent travel to the United Kingdom, I noticed the similarities and differences between Waynesburg and the towns of England.  Though many of the small towns had qualities like many in Greene County, the larger towns tended to differ from our fair county seat by one glaring difference.  Many of the English town have been scooped out and replaced with a horribly designed town center with no sense of place.  What a pity for these towns.  However, this is a great benifit for Greene County.  Many of the residents feel completely at home in Waynesburg and have a good sense that this is, in fact, their town.  What a good feeling to have of ones town!

Post script: I have moved to Tennessee and Rhode Island in the past few years, and I will still stand by Waynesburg for its town. Tennessee is interesting to have its courthouse on the center square, and New England is interesting to have its town green, but neither can compare to my hometown. I do like Murfreesboro, TN's courthouse very much, but Waynesburg's is better.

 

I would like to now point you to some great pictures of Waynesburg taken from the book Waynesburg: Prosperous and Beautiful. These include:
  • A Overview of Waynesburg taken in 1851.
  • The Opera House, still the only entertainment (movie) venue in Waynesburg Proper.
  • The Downey House, a major corner in Waynesburg at the time.
  • The Peoples Bank. This building is Waynesburg Skyscraper. I think it is perhaps the most important unused building in Waynesburg.

 

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