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Old Courthouse Getting $3.4 Million Facelift

Brett Blume
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Workers have been placing metal scaffolding all around the Old Courthouse this week. The project to replace badly aging stonework on the courthouse exterior will last about a year. (KMOX/Brett Blume)

Workers have been placing metal scaffolding all around the Old Courthouse this week. The project to replace badly aging stonework on the courthouse exterior will last about a year. (KMOX/Brett Blume)

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) -  All of that metal scaffolding that’s been going up around the Old Courthouse at 4th and Market this week will support workers as they conduct a year-long renovation project.

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial historian Bob Moore tells KMOX News that time, and a century-and-a-half cycle of St. Louis winters and summers, have taken their toll.

“The cornice stones, which are the stones that are right up near the roofline, have had a lot of weathering over the years,” he explains. “A lot of fissures form in them and then when ice gets in there, there’s cracking and thawing.”

Moore says it took more than a decade of competing with other national landmark projects to land the $3.47 million needed to fund the project.

It will require some very specialized work.

“Some of the pieces (being replaced) are just square, rectangular blocks,” he says. “But other pieces have decorative motifs on them and it will be really interesting to see somebody actually doing that age-old craft of stone-carving.”

Moore adds that they’re working on ways to let members of the public safely observe some of that work as it’s being done, adding that despite the metal truss that completely surrounds the building the exterior work will not hinder the 100,000 tourists who visit the Old Courthouse annually.

Safety will also be top-of-mind.

“That’s one of our prime concerns, and the contractors that we have working on the project are well aware of that,” Moore says.

The Building Restoration Corporation out of Minneapolis will be in charge of the renovation of the Old Courthouse exterior.

The Old Courthouse just received a shiny new copper roof last year, and repair work on four famous paintings by Karl Ferdinand Wimar that surround the interior of the rotunda are also currently undergoing professional cleaning and touching up.

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