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Crews replace Holmes Co. Courthouse cupola, missing since 1953

Part of $1 million restoration project
Holmes Co Co
Posted at 4:28 PM, Jun 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-10 19:14:45-04

MILLERSBURG, Ohio — Crowds gathered outside downtown Millersburg to watch as a nearly 200-foot-high crane carried Lady Justice and a brand new cupola to their respective spots atop the Holmes County Courthouse Thursday.

“It really makes the building stand out more with some of the ornate stuff back onto it,” said Doug Miller, president of Midstate Contractors.

Holmes County Commissioner Joe Miller told News 5 the courthouse clock tower rehabilitation project has been six years in the making, and costs about $1 million for the courthouse, originally built in the 1880's.

"We're using a lot of casino funds, we've been putting money in capital improvements for a long time and it's paid for," he said. "People like these old buildings. They’re very expensive but you need to keep them up."

For years, the top of the courthouse remained flattened off after the original cupola came down.

Original Courthouse
A look at the original cupola atop the Holmes County Courthouse

A black and white photo provided by the Holmes County Historical Society highlights what used to be there, while the reason it originally came down is a little more gray.

“Rumors are that they wanted the steel during the war to make equipment,” Commissioner Miller said. “We also heard it [came down] for remodeling and it was bad so they just decided, 'We’re going to take it off and we don’t need it anymore.'”

In addition to a new copper cupola, crews also returned a restored Lady Justice statue to its original spot on the roof of the courthouse.

"When I came here in 2003, Lady Justice was laying in a building over here," Commissioner Miller said, right after giving the statue a goodbye kiss.

"She’ll face the sleet, the heat, the rain, the lighting, everything; she had to be kissed one more time," Miller chuckled.

Going forward, Miller said more improvements are coming to the courthouse, as a way for the landmark to continue to shine for years to come.

"We're going to replace the windows eventually, that's probably a couple years away," he said. "There are three porches here, not in use anymore because we have a single entrance to the courthouse now, but they're all leaking. Crews are going to start on that right after this is done."

A formal celebration of the renovations, including speakers and behind-the-scenes photos and videos of the restoration, is set to take place July 3 at the courthouse from 1 to 4 p.m.