Historic 1908 Courthouse gets makeover

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Foundation needed to start work before all money was raised for renovations.

By Staff Reports

INDEPENDENCE — For the first time in 20 years, the exterior white trim on the Historic 1908 Courthouse in Independence is being completely repainted.

Phillip Osborne of Hemlock Construction has begun the job using two different kinds of lifts to reach the highest points on the building more than 50 feet above ground.

The Historic 1908 Courthouse Foundation has been raising money to get the job done for more than a year and, even though not all of the funds were raised, the foundation’s Board of Directors decided the job could not be put off any longer.

The damage to the trim was more than anyone realized.

“It has been so long since the last painting that no one knew that the decorative trim that is at the top and halfway up the sides is actually all metal.” says Ken Winans, vice president of the foundation. “Until the workmen got up on the lifts, it was thought the trim was wooden with a metal cover or flashing over the top.”

“Areas of the trim have rusted through and extensive patching of the metal is necessary,” he said. “Whole sections have to be patched over before they can be painted.”

Winans said the project couldn’t wait any longer.

“If we had known how bad the damage was, we would have done this years ago. It’s fortunate that the worst of the rusting was in flat areas where the patching is the easiest. Most of the unique, complex curves and dentil mouldings are in good shape. These distinctive features give the building much of its character.”

Because of the need for extensive patching, the cost of the project has increased. “Initially, we projected it to be between $10,000 and $15,000,” Winans said. “At this time, we really don’t know the cost, but we are pretty sure it will be north of $15,000 and maybe over $20,000.”

The foundation hopes the work will be done before the Grayson Wine Festival on Aug. 23.

Donations to help pay for the work may be sent to the Historic 1908 Courthouse Foundation, P.O. Box 336, Independence, VA 24348. Donations may also be made at www.historic1908courthouse.org/.