In Wauseon, they take care of their treasure.
This is evidenced by the roughly 143 years the Fulton County Courthouse has not only stood, but shined amidst downtown Wauseon. A glowing example of Tuscan Villa-style architecture, the courthouse continues to serve as a symbol of the town, even drawing in the occasional tourist eager to examine the structure inside and out.
Over the span of its existence, the Alexander Voss and H.B. Bensman designed building has needed renovations, and the Wauseon Village Council and Administrator, as well as the Fulton County Commissioners have stepped up to meet those needs.
Thus is currently the case, as the courthouse is seeing its first major exterior renovations in a decade.
Initial work was done by General Preservation, based in Columbus, Ohio. The contractor replaced every loose brick on the building, as well as washing it. Work has since begun on two separate restoration projects for the courthouse. The Brian Brothers, located in Piqua, Ohio, were charged with coating the white linings of the structure with a fresh layer of paint, a task that hasn’t been done in quite some time.
“We got our money’s worth twenty years ago.” Wauseon Village Administrator Vond Hall proclaimed.
Meanwhile, the Tower Clock Company, a South Charleston, Ohio contractor, have been given the responsibility of stripping each layer of paint from the courthouse’s clock face, which sits atop the building’s Romanesque-style tower.
Oh, and both of the latter two contractors began their work at the same time.
“I’ve kind of got them all tripping over each other.” joked Hall.
With both sets of contractors intent on finishing their work before Winter hits, it was necessary for them to work at the same time.
An interesting observation was made by a worker from the Tower Clock Company pertaining to the courthouse’s clock face. Its design is identical to a face on which the company worked in Southern Ohio. That face, after being stripped down to its first layer, was black and adorned golden roman numerals.
The question must therefore be asked, if that is the case with the courthouse’s face, would the city restore it as such?
“Obviously, I would defer to the council,” Hall answered, “but it would be neat to restore the face to its original state.”
After removing the clock face from the tower, workers from Tower will take it into an on site trailer. This trailer will also house them for the duration of the project. Not only that, but it is where they will renovate the face itself.
Once finished stripping all of the paint from the clock exterior, Tower workers will be able to determine exactly how many times it has been painted. Again, just how the face will be restored has yet to be decided.
For their efforts, General Preservation received $31,400. The Brian Brothers are earning $58,700 for their troubles. The Tower Clock Company will take home $28,000 upon completion of their task.
Since the beginning of its construction in 1870, the Fulton County Courthouse has served as the epicenter of the county’s history, storing almost a century and a half worth of information within its walls.
Such treasure may be hard to find, but taking care of it is the real challenge.