Auglaize County Commissioners and Garmann/Miller& Associates for the preservation and rehabilitation of the 1894 Auglaize County Courthouse
Courthouses are important focal points of the communities in which they reside. They are important symbols of democracy and justice and are often works of high-style architectural design. The loss of a historic courthouse, as occurred recently in Ohio, can have a devastating effect on the appearance and even the identity of a community.
Just like the balanced approach recommended for the rehabilitation of any historic building, the goal set by the county commissioners in rehabilitating the 1894 Auglaize County Courthouse, in Wapakoneta, was to preserve the historic architecture and character of the building, while converting it to a 21st century facility.
After a lengthy period of discussion and planning that involved several boards of county commissioners, and finalization of the budgetary commitment, work on the courthouse was initiated in 2011. The renovation process was funded by a $1.3 million dollar American Recovery & Reinvestment Act grant and $7.3 million dollars from the county permanent improvement fund which is supported by the county sales tax.
The building was completely overhauled. Deteriorated historic features were repaired wherever possible, and replacement materials matched the original. Some of the work accomplished during the renovation included removal of the 100 year-old coal-fired boiler and replacing it with two water-source heat pumps, recreating missing window and door trim to match the original, and re-establishing the original room dimensions and configurations, which had been heavily altered over the decades since the building’s construction.
Conservators from Blanck Studios in Wisconsin were called in to uncover original stencil patterns, decorative elements and paint colors. Restoration work was performed on several large murals, one of which was a forgotten and covered-up mural of Pickett's Charge discovered during the project.
The results of this project reflect a dedication to detail and commitment to excellence by all involved from the county commissioners, to the architects to each of the contractors involved in the work. Preservation of the Auglaize County Courthouse is a significant contribution to the history and architecture of Auglaize County and to Ohio.
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