Drone photo of a 208 sunset over the Fulton County Courthouse

Fulton County Courthouse Renovation 2018

Fulton County Courthouse Renovation 2018

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Jan 10

"Progress and Hidden Rooms" Fulton County Courthouse Renovation January 2019

Posted on January 10, 2019 at 12:28 PM by Toni Schindler

A month has passed since my last visit to the Fulton County Courthouse! When I asked to go back to take a look at the progress, they just laughed and said "it's just a bunch of holes everywhere!" I said "that sounds exciting, let's go take a look!"

Be prepared for photo overload, it was a wonderful adventure that led me to the attic and hidden rooms.  

As I was putting on my hard hat and yellow vest in the contractor's office, I was able to take a peak at the Courthouse construction work plan!  

Construction workplan for Courthouse Renovation

On the day of my visit, they were pouring concrete around the base of the new elevator.  I can already tell this elevator will be much bigger than the previous elevator.  

Workers filling in the base of the elevator in the Fulton County CourthouseWorkers filling in the base of the elevator in the Fulton County Courthouse

Here is a view of the elevator base prior to the pour.  

New view of elevator base prior to concrete pour

The old elevator has been removed, but the shaft remains open at this point.  

Old elevator shaft in the Fulton County Courthouse (basement view)

The new electrical boxes have been set.  

New Electrial Boxes

New duct work is being installed all throughout the courthouse. You can see duct work has been placed just above this new electrical box in the photo on the left, and runs all the way up the elevator shaft in the photo on the right.  

New Electrical Box and air ductBasement view of new elevator shaft

The wood paneling that once lined the walls of the courthouse basement has been removed to the studs. This handwritten sign still hangs stating:

State Examiners' Office 
Wayne J. Badenhop, Examiner 
Walk In

Sign beside door in basement

Here is a closer look at one of the doorways in the basement that has been newly framed in. The photo to the right shows new conduit that is being run through the basement.  

Framing in new doorway in basement roomNew conduit being run through basement

Part of this courthouse renovation includes installing a new sprinkler system. Here are new sprinkler pipes that are ready and waiting for installation.   

New Sprinkler system pipes ready for installation

Here is a view of the east stairs, heading up to the first floor of the courthouse.  

East stairs coming up from the basement

First Floor 
The stained glass windows that are displayed on the first floor of the courthouse are scheduled to be cleaned and restored. These windows were original to 1870's Common Pleas courtroom and hung right above the bench. They are made of the same imported Italian glass as the dome in the center of the courtroom. When the new addition was added on to the back of the courtroom, these windows were removed, and stored in one of the "Hidden Rooms" for many, many years. Judge Bumb was instrumental in bringing the windows out and having them displayed in cases on the main floor of the courthouse.

Stained glass windows scheduled for cleaning 

The entire courthouse is being outfitted with new heating and air conditioning. Here is where one of the old heating units has been removed in the Probate/Juvenile courtroom.  

Old heating units removed from Probate Courtroom

Here is the first floor view looking down the new elevator shaft.

1st floor view looking down new elevator shaft (2)

First floor view of empty old elevator shaft.  

1st floor view of old elevator shaft

Common Pleas Courtroom (2nd Floor)
Restoration crews are scheduled to begin on January 7th, 2019, so not much has changed in the Common Pleas Courtroom. Even though it is bare, and torn apart, this courtroom still feels so regal and majestic!  

Majestic common please courtroom prior to restoration

Here is a sample of a spot where the wood restoration crew tested "cleaning" the wood in the courtroom (left). You can see from the photo on the right where they took the "cleaning" sample under the window.  

wood cleaning sample in common pleasfull view of wood cleaning sample in common pleas

This is a cool picture of doors lined up in the back of the courtroom. These doors are scheduled for reconditioning.  

Doors lined up in the back of Common Pleas courtroom

Adventures in the Attic
The courthouse attic is such a cool place. It's an adventure all on it's own, and each time I pay a visit, I learn and see something new.  

When you first make it up the stairs, you enter this beautifully rustic, wood planked room. Right now, it is storing trusses and parts of the duct work. It will soon house the heating and cooling units.  

New ductwork and trusses waiting installation in attic

This old, heavy wooden door opens up into the attic. I love the old pulley and lever latch system installed on the door that is still in use today!

Old door and latch to the attic

One of the most impressive sights in the attic is the giant oak wood beams that criss-cross the entire span of the ceiling. 

Huge oak beams in the attic 2

The photo below not only shows the oak beams, but the wood covering of the imported Italian stained glass window that is in the ceiling of the Common Pleas courtroom. The restoration crew currently has it enclosed, and has plans in place for cleaning, and enhancing it's appearance upon completion.  

Huge oak beams in the attic

This view is looking up above the stained glass ceiling to the cupola that is located on the top of the courthouse. You can see a little light peaking through from the top.  

Looking up from the attic to cupola on the top of courthouse above stained glass celing

Check out this view from the attic, all the way down to the basement through the new elevator shaft. Once the new elevator goes in, we will no longer have this birds-eye view!  

New elevator view from the attic 2

Hidden Rooms
And now for what you have all been waiting for, a glimpse of the "Hidden Rooms" in the courthouse. In order to access these two rooms, you have to walk across the entire span of the attic toward the very back of the courthouse.

At this point, we don't know much about what these rooms were used for, or how they were accessed. What we do know, is that they were likely regular rooms prior to the addition of the back of the courthouse in 1899, with access to the rooms at the back of the courthouse.  After the addition, they were no longer in use due to them not being easily accessible.   

We are looking for more information on the hidden rooms!  If you have information on these rooms, please contact me!!  

Here I am checking out the south facing room!

Toni schindler checking out the South Hidden Room

Both rooms are essentially the same size, and a similar set up.  Here is a view of the North Room.

Hidden Room North view

Another view of the north hidden room. 
Hidden Room North

You can see the new duct work coming through this framed opening in one of the hidden rooms.

Hidden Room new ductwork in old window

Here is a close up look at the border near the hidden rooms.  

Hidden Room Wallpaper

If you are lucky enough to visit the hidden rooms, you will likely sign the wall!  It appears this tradition was started by Butch Krauss, OK Electric, who was hired to do some electric work in 1968!  

Hidden Room Butch Krauss notes

Yes, I have signed the wall too...in 2016!  But here are a few more well-known Fulton County Elected Officials who have also signed the wall.  

Commissioner Al Kreuz 2/28/90

Hidden Room Al Kreuz signature

Fulton County Clerk of Courts Mary Gype  2/27/90

Hidden Room Mary Gype signature

I hope you have enjoyed these pictures and these updates. The next month brings the restoration crew to the Common Pleas Courtroom, and we will be taking lots of photos to share with you!  Stay Tuned!  

As I mentioned above, we are still looking for photos of the back of the courthouse prior to the addition in 1899, and the hidden rooms.  You can contact me at 419-337-9699 or tschindler@fultoncountyoh.com

What's Next?
The Commissioners have hired the John Canning Company (JCC) out of Cheshire, CT to historically restore the Common Pleas Courtroom.

You can visit their website and check out their work!  https://johncanningco.com/

-January 1st-January 11th, 2019 John Canning Company (JCC) Mobilization and rolling tower install
-January 14th, 2019 Stained glass removal 
-February 1st, 2019 Full scaffolding of courtroom 
-January 17th through April 17th, 2019 Plaster frame work, clean and pain around the dome

Elevator, duct work and electrical work continues!