Saturday, February 25, 2012

Lamar County Courthouse, Part II

If you didn’t catch the first blog about the Courthouse, click here for that: http://purvisramblings.blogspot.com/2012/01/lamar-county-courthouse-part-i.html

I have been back to the courthouse again. To say I’m obsessed is an understatement. Some fool actually blew their horn at me last week when I was taking my daily ride past it on my way to work because I was going so slow. Idiot. Don’t they know they’re witnessing history in the making?!??!!?

Anyway, they’re working inside the second story now. The dumpster is full of short pieces of 2 x 6’s so they’re framing something up in there and I can’t see what it is because I don’t have Stretch Armstrong/Plastic Man’s legs or the ability to levitate myself up to the second story windows. Driving me insane. I have craned my neck every way physically possible while driving, looking in the windows but I only see plaster ceilings and construction flood lights. *sigh*

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I’ve noticed in my daily spying that the door surround on the second floor and the first floor are different which I’d never noticed before. The upper floor looks like it may be original and the bottom one is obviously not but I don’t know why.

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See the difference in the windows above the door? Top is Art Deco, bottom is an earlier, simpler style.

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The upper surround fits in with the style of the building and are much more beautiful so I can only hope these remain and another matching one is created for the bottom. Anyway…nobody was working on the building today. I found myself totally alone with it with very little traffic passing by. I parked and slowly started walking up to the building, camera in hand, ready at any moment to hear somebody holler at me from the construction trailers around it. I had my speech all ready, “Hello, I’m Cindy with the Lamar County Historical Society. Is there any way I can get up to see the work on the second floor? Are y’all framing something up there?” I got to say my speech. Walked straight up to it and started taking photos through the glass doors and windows. Squee!!

This is a front room with extensive water damage to the plaster from the leaking roof. There is an old heater with a fan in the corner that was taken down from the ceiling somewhere. They’ve started pulling sheetrock from some rooms because I saw it in the other dumpster but they seem to be working mainly on the framing on the second floor right now, whatever that is that I don’t know about, but hopefully they are framing up the roof to build the missing clock tower up there. 

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You can see on the roof where they have added a layer of sheeting and the edges of boards to frame up the area where the tower will be. There is kind of a concave area there now so I really can’t tell how the progress is going. The two statues of Justice (blindfolded, of course) have always been a favorite of mine so I hope they get recycled for use in the finished project somewhere.

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Through the front door, I could see all of the doors they had removed from the hinges, some crappy, modern, hollow ones and some old paneled ones. The modern ones need to be used elsewhere, in my opinion.

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I also noticed that they covered that beautiful hard wood floor with ply board to protect it and I’m so glad to see that!

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The original building had fireplaces/wood burning stoves in many of the rooms that had been covered over in plaster and sheetrock. This is the room to the right of the front door and you can see where they’ve pulled off some of that damaged plaster.

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The photo below is a shot from a back window and you can see all of the metal pipe that those gawd awful drop ceilings covered up before. The original building was built with no electricity in 1906. After I got around to the back, I actually saw the back door was unlocked and slightly open but I didn’t trespass beyond standing on the porches and leaning against the windows… yet. I’m biding my time until I can meet somebody that can get me into the courthouse legally.

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I have dug up an photo of the original building before fires, water, wind, time and bad taste demolished it. (Check out the old car sitting out front on the street.) I’ve added a “before” photo below it, taken from the opposite side of the building for reference. Supposedly, it will look more like this old building when they get finished with it. I can only hope that will be complete with the Widow’s Walk and clock faces on all four sides.

I will say that this the cleanest construction site I’ve ever seen. I saw no empty McDonald’s cups, photo chip bags, random empty cigarette boxes, no trash anywhere and all of the construction debris was concentrated around the dumpsters. I don’t know if it’s because it’s a public building in the middle of town and they have eyes all the way around them or if the foreman is a perfectionist. I’m hoping for the latter.

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