Restored Federal Courtroom
Located on the third floor, the Federal Courtroom where the first constitutional convention for West Virginia was held and where citizens of western Virginia decided to choose loyalty to the Union over secession has been restored to its original design and offers visitors the opportunity to move into the space, just as the Unionists did in 1861.
This room served as the district federal court for the Western District of Virginia (1859-1863) and West Virginia (1863-1907). One function of the district court during the Civil War was to try Confederate sympathizers for treason.
On June 13, 1861, two months after Virginia seceded from the Union, western Virginia leaders convened the Second Wheeling Convention here, declaring the pro-Confederate government in Richmond illegal. From November 1861 to February 1862, the courtroom was the site of the First West Virginia Constitutional Convention, during which delegates voted to form a new state and name it West Virginia. Rejected names included Allegheny, Augusta, Kanawha, New Virginia, and Western VVirginia The Restored Government of Virginia’s legislature also met here from July 1861 until June 1863, when it was moved to Alexandria.