News Column

Wrap comes off Old Court House

July 2, 2014

By David Exum, The Dispatch, Lexington, N.C.

July 02--Dwayne Childress, director of support services for Davidson County, said the official unveiling of the building, which houses the Davidson County Historical Museum, will be sometime in September. No official date has been scheduled.

"It's all going to depend on the weather," Childress said.

Ruth Ann Copley, director of the Davidson County Public Library who oversees the museum, said she is thrilled the project is nearing completion.

"It's like a gift that has been wrapped up for a year," Copley said. "I think we're going to be really pleased when it's finished. It's going to look wonderful when the entire project is completed."

Copley added the portico portion of the Old Court House should be finished sometime this month.

The Old Court House, constructed in 1858 in the Greek Revival architecture style, is one of the few historic buildings in the area open to the public. It has also been registered with the National Register of Historic Places since 1971 and is an attraction on North Carolina's Civil War Trails.

"It's that wonderful, tantalizing, tease now," Copley said, in anticipation of the project being finally completed. "It's going to look as good as it was when it was first completed in 1858."

Copley also recalled how longtime county commissioner Billy Joe Kepley was involved with the restoration project. Kepley died June 7 of an apparent heart attack.

"He was 'Mr. Tourism,' and I'm sure he would be very proud," Copley said.

When the Old Court House is finally unveiled in September, Copley said a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held, and county dignitaries will be on hand to speak about the importance of the building to the community.

"It's going to be a wonderful attraction," Copley said. "It will be a wonderful asset to the county."

Childress also said the scaffolding around the Old Court House and the shrink wrap on the sides of the building will likely be removed at the end of July or the first of August. Workers will now concentrate on the removal and replacement of the steps, which should be completed in two to three weeks.

Before the official unveiling in September, Childress said employees from his department will begin final preparation of the building's interior and exterior in August to ensure all work is completed.

"I think it will look much crisper," Childress said about the exterior painting of the building.

Calvin Hulin, who works as a head painter on the project for Bob Hanes Painting, said the color of the Old Court House was restored to its original cream and gray.

"It looks really, really great," Hulin said. "You can tell that it's got that new look to it."

Renovations of the Old Davidson County Court House, located at the corners of Main and Center streets, began in September 2013. Exterior repairs to the structure totalled over $800,000.

Commissioners originally approved a bid in August 2013 for $617,500 from Progressive Contracting Co. of Sanford to complete repairs to the Old Court House, but in November workers discovered asbestos coating w on the structure, which cost an additional $250,000 to be addressed.

About $150,000 of the funding for the renovation is from Preservation North Carolina, a nonprofit that protects and promotes historic buildings.

Assistant county manager Zeb Hanner said funding for the museum falls under capital projects in the budget.

David Exum can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 227, or at Follow David on Twitter: @LexDisptachExum


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Source: Dispatch, The (Lexington, NC)

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