Stained glass in the courthouse dome in need of restoration

When construction of the courthouse began in 1911, county commissioners had installed the very latest in office innovations including telephones and fireproof vaults, and envisioned a building that would showcase art.

Today, courthouse visitors continue to enjoy artist F.C. Van Stone’s work to decorate the courthouse through the hand-painted gilt lettering on the office doors and the large paintings hanging on the north wall of the lobby.

Courthouse blueprints included many special features such as statuary niches in the rotunda and a lightwell through which constituents could look up from the main floor and see the stained glass that had been installed in the dome along with additional Van Stone paintings. These decorative elements were lost from view when the dome was covered in the 1960s in response to the leaking roof.

The beautiful courthouse decorations were nearly lost from memory until they were rediscovered by construction crews in the course of doing other preservation work in the courthouse.

A membrane roof has been installed on the courthouse nearly eliminating the threat of leaks. To that end, a group of preservation minded individuals is working to have the cover removed from the courthouse dome and the stained glass and paintings in the dome restored.

Anyone interested in joining in the preservation efforts is invited to an organizational meeting on Monday, November 30 at 6:30 p.m. in the Sully County Courthouse courtroom, masks required. Contact Sheila Ring, 765-4287 to arrange to join the brainstorming remotely.