Architect Alexander “Alex” Blount Mahood (March 7, 1888-December 25, 1970) was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, and completed his professional training at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris. Mahood arrived in Bluefield in February 1912 to supervise construction of the Law and Commerce Building, the first modern office building in southern West Virginia. He established his architectural firm on the penthouse floor of the new building just as the southern West Virginia coalfields exploded in population, wealth, power, and influence.
Mahood designed and built some of the most characteristic and stately structures in the Mountain State. His neoclassical work may be found from Morgantown, where he designed the circular Creative Arts Center at West Virginia University, to Bluefield, where his West Virginian Hotel still stands at 12 stories as the tallest building in the state south of Charleston. Mahood was adaptable and prolific, designing the Mercer and Raleigh county courthouses, numerous schools, colleges, and office buildings, fraternal and social halls, as well as hundreds of spacious and elegant homes. He was a shrewd businessman as well, serving as president and chairman of the board of the Commercial Bank in Bluefield.
Mahood and his wife, the former Kathleen Sparrow, had three children, Belva, John, and Alex Jr., who continued in architectural practice in southern West Virginia after the elder Mahood’s death at the age of 82. Mahood’s drawings, plans, photographs, and the records of his extensive practice are located in the Eastern Regional Coal Archives in the Craft Memorial Library in Bluefield.
This Article was written by C. Stuart McGehee
Last Revised on October 08, 2010
Hedrick, Charles B. Official Blue Book of Mercer County. Princeton: Mercer County Blue Book Association, 1931.
Mahood, Alex Jr. The Mahood Family History. Mercer County History 1984. Marceline, MO: Walsworth Pub., 1985.