Historic Ohio Courthouse Plans Big Window Project

By Lisa Kopochinski

NEWARK, Ohio—Nearly 100 windows from the 144-year-old Licking County Courthouse in Newark may finally be replaced soon.

Work on the approximately $1.25 million project could begin as early as next spring, with a completion date slated for 2022.

Licking County Commissioner Tim Bubb said the project won’t be cheap, nor quick, but the time is right.

“We felt it was too good of an opportunity to pass up. We’ve approached this process twice. It’s a collection of old windows in a historic building that don’t look good and leak.”

While some ground floor windows are original and date back to 1876 when the courthouse was completed, most are replacement windows from the 1930s and 1940s that vary in size, with some up to 13 feet tall.

In 1978, the county added central air conditioning and storm windows to the historic structure.

A decade ago, county commissioners had planned to replace the windows in a multimillion dollar, 25-building energy-saving project that included new furnaces, boilers, insulation and water heaters.

“Courthouse windows were a part of it,” said Bubb. “But some windows are very big and the manufacturer came back and said they weren’t sure they could manufacture big windows with the safety specs. That was a huge frustration. We had to back away.”

A massive renovation of the courthouse was completed in 2017 that included a new gold dome and outside to the building’s clock tower, a new roof, restoration of the “ladies of justice” statues on the roof, a new outside LED lighting system, restoration of an interior skylight and a new elevator.

Five circular, three-foot tall, Tiffany stained-glass windows near the ceiling of the historic west courtroom on the second floor were removed during the 2016-17 renovation and restored. The historic images on these windows depict George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, James Madison and the Marquis de Lafayette, an aide to Washington.

“It depends on what kind of replacement windows you pick,” said Bubb about potential complications. “We want historically-looking windows with 21st-century technology. That’s going to be the challenge. It’s a process like a custom remodel. We’re putting it in there for the next half century.”