Attend the Ohio County Courthouses Symposium in Columbus May 15–16 and learn about making your county courthouse function as a 21st-century building while preserving its 19th- or 20th-century architectural character. The symposium will highlight some recent courthouse renovations and offer resources and expertise for maintaining historic courthouses.
Organized by the County Commissioners Association of Ohio, Ohio History Connection, Ohio Supreme Court, Heritage Ohio and others, the symposium begins on Thursday, May 15, with a 5:30 p.m. reception at the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary in the former Ohio Departments of State Building, an Art Deco landmark overlooking the Scioto River in downtown Columbus.
Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor will give remarks and a short video will be shown. Several educational sessions relating to courthouse restoration and the importance of preserving historic courthouses will be offered the following day at the downtown Columbus Athenaeum.
On May 16, University of Virginia Architectural Historian Richard Guy Wilson, a commentator on the TV series America’s Castles, will give the keynote address, about the courthouse as a symbol of community.
“The Buckeye State’s historic county courthouses are an Ohio success story,” says Ohio History Connection Executive Director and CEO Burt Logan. “Historic 19th- and 20th-century county courthouses are prominent buildings in many county seats. They serve as the center for political and commercial life and are important anchors in the heart of our Main Street communities.”
According to the society’s State Historic Preservation Office, 69 of Ohio’s county courthouses are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and many of Ohio’s other county courthouses are significant landmarks in the communities they serve.
Many counties feature their courthouses as a point of pride, using images of them on tourism materials, websites and business cards and even stringing lights across the historic façades throughout the holidays.
At the same time, many of Ohio’s courthouses are in need of upgrades to bring them functionally into the 21st century, according to Ohio History Connection architectural historian Barbara Powers.
“Several counties have already invested in the preservation of their county courthouses. Others are considering the future of their historic courthouses,” she explains. “Many do not have the financial ability to tackle this challenge on their own. We’re hopeful this symposium will be helpful in showing what some other states have done and encouraging creativity and optimism for the future of our historic courthouses.”
Registration for the two-day Ohio Courthouses Symposium is $65. To register, or for more information, call 614.220.7979 or visit www.ccao.org/ohio-courthouses-symposium.