BELLEFONTAINE – After a two-year hiatus from the Bellefontaine skyline, the iconic Logan County courthouse clock-tower made its reappearance this past week.
The courthouse with the distinctive clock-tower was erected in 1870 and was in continuous use until damaged during a storm on June 29, 2012, when 70 mph winds twisted the base of the clock-tower. The tower remained upright following the storm, but was disassembled for safety reasons. On further inspection, it was found that the courthouse’s 142-year-old roof was failing because of age, prompting a complete exodus from the building. The decision was made not to replace the courthouse, but restore it to its original glory, becoming the first county courthouse in Ohio’s history to receive such treatment.
The total bill for the reconstruction comes to just under $8 million, which includes the tower renovation, roof repair and updates to courtrooms and offices.
Midstate Contractors, general contractor for the restoration, moved a 350-foot boom into downtown Bellefontaine and on Tuesday, Nov. 10, put the topper on the 142-foot-tall structure – the heaviest section weighed in at over 8 tons – which itself was topped by a 25-foot flagpole with Old Glory catching the breeze some 55 yards above Main Street.
Midstate Contractors kept the courthouse’s plans and used materials for the exterior similar to those used 140 years ago, but updated the inside with steel-beam framework and concrete foundations reported to be able to withstand 120 mph gusts.
The work on the clock-tower and courthouse itself is expected to be completed in the spring of 2016.
Tom Stephens is a regular contributor to this newspaper.