(DHI Media/Ed Gebert)
(DHI Media/Ed Gebert)

VAN WERT — The Van Wert County Courthouse has taken on a new hue lately. With work finishing on the building’s renovation, an accent color has been added — gold.

County Commissioner Thad Lichtensteiger admitted the commissioners like the result. “We’re tickled with what he did,” he said, referring to Jeff Hollis of All Trades Historical Restoration. The amount of gold on the historic landmark has grown through the project. The cap of the topmost spire is the last to be covered in gold paint.

Lichtensteiger admitted that, although the results have been very eye-catching, the commissioners were not going to spend additional dollars to add more gold to the building. Hollis had wanted to paint the entire dome atop the courthouse, but the commissioners could not justify the expense. When Hollis made a deal to do the very top of the dome, it became more tempting, but they decided it was more important to hold tight on costs. That is when Common Pleas Court Judge Charles D. Steele got involved. Steele wanted to see the additional gold color and was told that if he wanted to pay the cost from his special projects fund, he could. That was all it took for the golden paint to top the courthouse dome.

Other courthouse features also were painted gold, including a fresh coat on Lady Justice just above the building’s main entrance. Also included were two lion’s heads that were well out of sight to most people on the ground.

“They were difficult to notice before unless you were up that high,” Lichtensteiger noted. “They are now gold as are many accent pieces that were in need of a fresh coat of paint, which was one of the goals of the project.

Another part of the project was the replacement of the weather vane at the top of the courthouse dome. The weather vane was knocked down in the derecho storm that swept through the county on June 29, 2012. It was repainted gold and was put back at the top of the dome with Lichtensteiger himself joining Dustin Figley taking it up in the bucket of a crane Thursday to its perch 130 feet high. A smaller crane had been used to attempt to put the weather vane in place earlier in the week.

Lichtensteiger stated he believed all the contracted work for the project is now completed. More gold accent paint will be applied in the next phase of the renovation project, which Lichtensteiger estimated to be undertaken in two to three years.