Jefferson National Expansion
Administrative History
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Administrative History
Bob Moore

Old Courthouse Rehabilitation and Restoration
Old Courthouse
The Old Courthouse, as seen from the top of the Gateway Arch. NPS photo by Al Bilger.

Early Restoration Efforts, 1930-1946

On May 1, 1940, St. Louis' Old Courthouse was conveyed by the city of St. Louis to the National Park Service, and became a part of Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. The significance and importance of this historic building was clear, but National Park Service (NPS) officials quickly discovered that the Old Courthouse was in poor physical condition. The structure had deteriorated for a decade, since the St. Louis City Courts moved to a new building in 1930. [1] In 1933, a report by the St. Louis chapter of the American Institute of Architects noted serious fire hazards from electrical wiring. Indeed, a fire broke out in May 1936, and caused extensive damage to the roof and attics of the west and north wings, and to rotunda decorations. [2]

In the summer of 1940, the NPS began planning the restoration of the exterior and of selected interior spaces of the Old Courthouse to the 1871 period, including the adaptive restoration of some rooms for administrative and museum education use. This early restoration phase was substantially completed by September 1942. [3]

The building's stability required the complete reconstruction of the deteriorated gable roofs of the wings, and north and south extensions, in 1941. In addition, the limestone chimneys, parapets, cornices, and pedestals were rehabilitated, and nonhistoric skylights and ventilators removed. Deteriorated exterior downspouts were replaced by new interior drains. The badly rusted cast iron balustrade on the lantern of the dome was also removed, and sections were saved to make molds for later replacement. Nonhistoric window sashes and exterior doors were replaced as well, and by December 1, 1941, the NPS moved into offices in the south wing of the building. [4]

The next major project in the restoration of the exterior was the painting of the courthouse in 1942, including the masonry walls, the drums above the wing roofs, the building's copper dome and the copper dome of the lantern. The copper ball atop the lantern was covered with gold leaf to continue the historic treatment. [5]

Further Restoration, 1947-1974

During the winter of 1947-1948, new 16 ounce copper was installed on the dome over the original copper; the next major restoration period, however, was 1952-1959. Most of this work involved interior spaces and landscape features. Some exterior doors and window sashes, chiefly at the basement level, were replaced or repaired, a new cast aluminum reproduction balustrade was installed on the lantern walkway, and new stone steps were installed by the city at all four entrances in 1955. NPS painting conservator Walter Nitkiewicz researched the historic colors and interior decoration, developing a painting scheme for the building in conjunction with historian John Bryan, who described the process in the third person:

The choice of colors for the walls and the many architectural details was the duty and pleasure of this Architect. Having studied the Rotunda for several years before restoration got underway, he had become convinced that there was very little left of the colors selected by Architect Rumbold in the original decorative scheme of 1862. The eagles that nestle under two of the topmost balconies, and the escutcheons that alternate with the eagles at that level seem to be the original browns and grays so popular with architects and decorators of the Mid-Nineteenth Century. Another color which was popular then is known today as "dusty pink". It was used generously between the ribs of the dome; and this Architect decided it should be kept there. The biggest problem was the color for the wide cornice which winds in and out among the many projections and depressions at the top of the third balcony. With the lunettes directly above this cornice, it was necessary to have a subdued color . . . since competition for attention between the murals and their frames was not desirable. A cocoa brown was chosen, which under some circumstances might have looked dull, but with the large Corinthian capitals of the supporting pilasters done in gold, the cocoa brown made a rich bond between murals and architectural detail.

Investigation and restoration of original Old Courthouse murals, 1955. NPS photo.

On the fifth balcony, where there is a circle of large windows, a soft green was chosen, since Mother Nature has taught us that where strong light prevails, green is the best color for light absorption and for relief to the eyes.

Mauve or lavender being a combination of two primary colors (red and blue) harmonizes all other colors and changes shades with the different hours of the day. For that reason the Rotunda looks best near the close of day, when the sunlight is not too strong and the lavender (shades of evening) gives a warmth and softness to the entire picture of architecture and paintings.

Of course the new system of cove lighting brings out all the richness of the Rotunda as it was never brought out before. . . . [T]he remaining gas brackets which were on the walls of the fourth and fifth galleries have been wired for electricity and having been cleaned and re-plated, now add very much to the attractiveness of the Rotunda, by offsetting the modern appearance that would have been present with only the cove lighting.

After the scaffolding had been removed, it was apparent that there was too decided a contrast between the richly decorated upper part of the Rotunda and the three lower balconies which had been painted in five different tones of eggshell, following the new plastering done there in 1953. The job of painting the cornices of these lower balconies, and gilding the capitals of the columns was assigned to our own force of workmen, with the Architect selecting colors and stencils. A moveable platform of aluminum was devised by the Maintenance Supervisor, John Whipple, and the two workmen assigned to do the painting were Sylvestre Lorenz and Louis Whitman. Gilding was done not only on the Ionic and Corinthian capitals but between the dentils of the cornices, and the mouldings dividing the sections of the cornices were also covered with gold paint. [6]

"The color scheme which was actually adopted in 1955," wrote John Lindenbusch, in the Historic Structure Report for the Old Courthouse, "was derived more from a set of convictions about how the Rotunda should appear than from any actual evidence pertaining to the earlier painting." [7]

The entire exterior of the building, with the exception of the main and lantern domes, was painted a light gray in 1955; it was repainted the same color in 1963. The landscaping work of 1955-1956 was altered in 1959, eliminating the walks and adding ground cover in the four courtyards. [8]

In September 1961, the Klaric Contracting Company of St. Louis completed a major project that involved repairing or replacing sections of chimneys, parapets, and cornices on the Old Courthouse. During the inspection carried out by the Klaric firm, "weathered joints or fissures" were noted on the top surfaces and vertical edges of several of the parapet blocks, as well as heavy water erosion. Klaric replaced the upper layers of the wing roof cornice stones, which rested on top of the lower walls. Klaric removed the original limestone blocks, and used new Indiana limestone, close in texture and appearance to the original, as replacements. Weak joints were evident in unprotected areas where blocks were placed parallel to a wall surface and projected outward, as happened in the parapet areas of the Old Courthouse. [9] Klaric replaced one 9 foot block entablature on the east wall of the South extension; twenty-two 6 foot pieces of the upper cornice section (crown molding); twelve pieces of the center section of the molding; and fifty sections of the deteriorated sloping pediment stones. New and existing stones were connected with stainless steel clamps set in Dex-O-Tex, "a durable traffic topping material." [10] Many of the stones were tied to the building by stainless steel rods attached through the walls to the inside of the structure. [11]

Inspection of Conditions, 1975-1977

No more major work was done on the Old Courthouse until the mid-1970s. From 1975 to 1977, repairs to, or replacement of, portions of all basement windows and doors, and emergency minor repairs to the first and second floor windows were accomplished. Windows and doors were also painted. The parapets and tops of the horizontal cornice sections were sandblasted, sealed, and treated with water repellant in the fall of 1975. [12]

While this work was in progress, a large cornice block from the north side of the east wing fell to the ground. [13] A subsequent inspection discovered a serious deterioration of the iron suspension rods that held the stone ceiling blocks over the entrance porticos. Other cornice stones in the roof area were cracked so badly that they were threatening to fall as well. Further problems included spalling (the chipping of large sections of stone) and peeling paint; deteriorating joints were suffering from the yearly freeze/thaw cycle. In addition, it was determined that the flagpole atop the Courthouse was structurally unsafe, and several roof leaks were discovered. Clearly, major rehabilitation work was necessary, [14] and costs were estimated at $8-10 million. [15] On the brighter side, the report stated that "no signs of significant settlement or displacement" of the building or its foundations were discovered, and that the Old Courthouse was "in better condition than it appears" from a visual inspection alone. [16] Twenty coats of paint were identified on the exterior of the building, and the peeling layers were blamed for the building's "shabby appearance." [17]

Deteriorated cornice, Old Courthouse, 1978. NPS photo.

Alerted to the Old Courthouse's problems, Park Service officials from the Midwest Regional Office, the Denver Service Center, and Jefferson National Expansion Memorial conducted a thorough investigation in 1977, and formulated a set of recommendations. It was determined that a major, multi-million dollar restoration project should be carried forward in three phases, due to the extensive overall cost. The project would begin at the top and work downward, with its goal being to "preserve the historic fabric of the Old Courthouse and to ensure that adaptive use of it for interpretive and administrative purposes does not jeopardize the qualities that contribute to its historical and architectural significance." [18]

Lantern structure
The Lantern structure atop the Old Courthouse dome, July 1978. NPS photo.

Lantern Restoration and Fire, 1978-1980

The first stage of Phase I of the Old Courthouse restoration dealt with the lantern atop the dome. [19] Rehabilitation work was accomplished under a contract with Woermann Construction Company of St. Louis, with National Park Service representatives Charles E. "Ted" Rennison as project supervisor, Michael E. Hunter as project inspector, and David G. Henderson as historical architect. Work commenced in March 1979 and was completed April 15, 1980. [20]

An inspection of the entire lantern on April 20, 1979 revealed that the dome leaves, rings, and consoles were dented and dimpled from hailstone damage, and had suffered from a poorly executed paint job coupled with the effects of air pollution. [21] Old paint was stripped off, and a number of chemical solutions were employed to clean the affected areas. The pineapple leaves on the lantern's dome were replaced by reproductions. On the lower lantern the columns were cleaned and repaired, and broken or damaged glass panes were replaced. The 1955 cast-aluminum balustrade was thoroughly cleaned, the metal primed and painted. [22]

In addition to the exterior work, plaster that had been removed for investigation on the lantern interior was replaced. Interior scaffolding was erected from the rotunda floor to the top of the dome, and a solution of ammonia and distilled alcohol was used to remove the old paint layers. The lantern interior was repainted a pale aqua color and decorated with gold stars, matching the 1880 color scheme of Ettore Miragoli, originally researched and reproduced in 1955 by NPS painting conservator Walter Nitkiewicz. [23] Nitkiewicz visited the Old Courthouse to assess restoration on the murals in the rotunda on August 29, 1977. On March 11, 1978, investigation of the murals was begun from scaffolding by Nitkiewicz, Bob Simmons, David Henderson, Thomas Busch and Paul Newman of Denver Service Center (DSC), and Dan Evans, Ray Kunkel and Randy Biallas of the Midwest Regional Office. [24] Floors on the rotunda balconies were refinished at this time as well. More than twenty layers of wax, varnish, stains and paint were removed, stripping them down to bare wood. A clear floor dressing, which penetrated like a sealer, was applied to preserve the wood; no waxes were used. [25]

Unfortunately, work on the lantern project was slowed as a result of a fire caused by a lightning strike in June 1979. The strike occurred despite the existence of a lightning protection system, possibly installed when the flagpole was replaced in 1971. A 5/8" stranded copper cable was attached to the flagpole base, and bonding conductors were attached to several points on the cast-iron ring plate at the bottom of the cornice. One conductor was faulty, however, and during a lightning strike the electrical charge arced, igniting the dry wood ribs of the dome. Electrical engineer Roy Kohen pointed out that the main charge "went to ground" via the cast-iron structural system, but lightning also struck the worker's scaffolding and jumped to the lantern. Due to the low oxygen level in the upper part of the dome, the fire smoldered for several days. Estimated fire damage and repairs amounted to $93,391. Firemen had to chop several large holes in the dome as they tried to locate the fire. Damage to the dome caused by the fire necessitated the replacement of 17 wooden ribs, either in part or in full (8 were totally destroyed), the replacement of 25% of the wood sheathing over the ribs (all of which was later replaced due to rot discovered there), all the floor decking, portions of the floor joists and the repair of cracks in two braces. Six hundred seventy lights of glass were destroyed in the lantern, most of which were not original; all were replaced with reproductions. The old lightning protection system was thoroughly checked, and necessary adjustments or corrections made, while smoke/heat detectors were installed in the area as an added precaution. [26]

Dome Restoration, 1980-1981

The second part of Phase I of the Old Courthouse project concentrated on the exterior surfaces of the building, from the base of the lantern to the main roof, including the reassembly of the lantern balustrade, the main dome, and the upper and lower drums. Plans and specifications for the work were prepared by the Denver Service Center. One of the major problems confronted by the planning group was the removal of the exterior paint layers without damaging the fabric of the building; abrasive methods were ruled out. In 1980, DSC performed tests during which crushed walnut shells, applied under pressure, were shown to be effective for paint removal with no detrimental effect to the historic stonework. [27]

Thomas P. Busch, a historical architect with Denver Service Center, was chosen as the project inspector. Park Technician Nancy Hoppe described the walnut shell process and the work to be accomplished in a 1980 article:

fire investigation
Fire investigation, June 1979, showing the hole chopped in the roof of the lantern and the exterior scaffolding. NPS photo by Norman Messinger.

fire damage
Interior of the lantern showing fire damage, June 15, 1979, looking upward. NPS photo by Norman Messinger.

Old Courthouse dome and scaffolding
Exterior, Old Courthouse dome and scaffolding, December 1980. NPS photo by Tom Busch, DSC.

[Tom Busch] approves the walnut shell system as the hulls have a softer grit than sand, reducing the chance of the stonework becoming pitted. Tom states that sand is too aggressive; in a matter of seconds it could drill a hole in a wall. Walnut hulls tend to lift off paint as opposed to abrading or wearing it off. Our method preserves the stone to a much more satisfactory level than sandblasting. It takes one man to blast the hulls, while two to five men clean up the walnut shells and paint chips.

The outside project will include the following actions on the structure:

1. Removal of paint with shells from the base of the copper dome to the roof line.

2. Tuckpointing or putting back mortar into mortar joints. This process waterproofs the stone so that moisture cannot develop in the mortar joints.

3. Epoxy the cracked stone to restore structural integrity . . . as well as to secure stones to the building.

4. Rinsing the building down with water and detergent to remove stone dust, walnut shell dust, and atmospheric pollution.

5. Painting the drum with an off-white latex paint. The color is historically accurate.

This present phase of restoration of the dome down to the roof line will be completed by August 1981 . . . There are forty-five holes in the dome in need of repair. . . . The galvanized aluminum balustrade will reappear at the top of the dome sometime this winter, allowing visitors once again to walk outside at the top of the dome. [28]

In June 1980, the St. Louis Tuckpointing and Painting Company was awarded a contract for paint removal, using the walnut shell method of blasting. [29] Additional work included the repair, partial resetting, repointing and sealing of stone masonry work. Replacement of old cornice material with new Indiana limestone was not recommended due to the excessive costs, which were estimated at $1.5 million. [30] Twelve sections in extremely bad condition, however, which had "spalled," were replaced. [31] The project involved the repair, patching and sealing of the copper dome, gutters, and cast iron columns; the partial replacement, repair and reglazing of the wooden window frames; the reinstallation and touch-up painting of the aluminum lantern balustrade; the installation of new downspouts; and the repainting of historically painted areas. [32]

Work commenced on September 15, 1980. An unusual problem encountered by the contractors was the need to erect scaffolding upon elaborate shoring to accommodate the peaks and valleys of the courthouse roof. [33] Park Technician Nancy Hoppe interviewed workmen at the time of the contract:

removing paint
Removing paint with a forced stream of walnut shells, April 1980. NPS photo.

E.J. Holley, owner and supervisor of the St. Louis [Tuckpointing] company said that the scaffolding procedures here on the courthouse are more difficult a task than on most buildings he has worked. Originally the scaffolding was to be screwed into the building, but engineers developed a new technique to prevent damage to the courthouse. The scaffolding was fastened to the building without anchors. Workmen wrapped steel cables around the drum of the dome, threaded it through the scaffolding, and then pulled it tight, attaching the scaffolding securely to the structure. High winds prevented the erection on only one day.

With the scaffolding securely fastened, workmen began cleaning the building with ground black walnut hulls. The 40,000 pounds of hulls came from Stockton, Missouri, from Hammons Products. Mr. Holley reported that this is his company's first experience with walnut shells. They are not as dirty to use; and they do not explode when hitting a building surface, eliminating a dust hazard. [34]

Most of the limestone masonry surfaces of the drums were cleaned using the walnut shell blasting technique. [35] In some areas, however, a more meticulous hand cleaning method was necessary. The cast iron columns of the upper drum were cleaned by sandblasting. Copper work was cleaned using a chemical stripper and a water rinse. [36] Once cleaned, holes in the copper were repaired using two-inch diameter soldered copper patches. After all the masonry and cast iron surfaces had been cleaned, they were painted. [37]

To arrest the deterioration caused by exposure to the elements on the stone cornice of the upper dome, it was decided to use a sloped topping material. A product called Sika Top 122, a general purpose repair mortar used on horizontal surfaces, was applied to the area in August 1981. Two months later, however, the surface of the cornice had formed a network of cracks. It was discovered that the Sika Top material did not bond with the stone, and water collected underneath it. Project supervisors were concerned that the pieces caused by the cracking would fall, and the material was removed. [38] When the manufacturer was consulted about the failure of the Sika Top product, they suggested that it had not been applied properly. NPS project supervisor Charles E. Rennison, however, concluded that the material was not correct for this particular application. In the end, the top of the cornice was simply painted as originally specified. [39] Final inspection of the work took place on August 28, 1981, and the $363,394 contract was declared complete. [40]

dome restoration
Dome restoration, April 1981. NPS photo by Thomas Busch, DSC.

Exterior Restoration, 1982-1986

Further rehabilitation work on the Old Courthouse was made possible in 1982, when the U.S. House of Representatives Interior Appropriations Subcommittee approved $2.7 million for the completion of repairs to the building. [41] In July 1982, an evaluation was made of the roofing, skylights and associated water penetration problems at the Old Courthouse by representatives of the Copper Development Association and two St. Louis roofing contractors, Hopmann Cornice and Sheet Metal Company, and Western Sheet Metal Works, Inc. The inspection team also included Facility Manager Bob Kelly and HVAC foreman John Patterson. Their conclusion was that the roof, then forty years old, would last for another twenty. Minor repairs which had been held in abeyance due to construction were recommended, including fixing leaks in the skylights. [42]

It was recommended at this time that the sidewalks around the building be repointed and leveled. During the sidewalk project, 436 square feet of brick were removed and replaced, 88 linear feet of concrete curb was laid, 1,866 square feet of deteriorated sidewalk joints were replaced, and five curb cuts were installed for ease of accessibility. [43]

Phase II of the Old Courthouse project began in 1983, when Schuster Engineering of Webster Groves was awarded a $934,271 contract for the rehabilitation of the building from the level of the cornices to the foundation. [44] The project included the removal of existing paint; repainting of all exterior wood, metal and masonry surfaces; repair and replacement of window sashes, jambs, hardware, sills, and glass; the repointing of mortar joints in the stone and brick masonry; repair and replacement of stones and brick in vertical walls and cornices; the installation of rock bolts in the lintels across the colonnade; [45] repair and replacement of basement doors; the installation of a wheelchair lift on the west side of the building; new period handrails at the east and west entrances; the installation of new lead-coated copper flashing around all chimneys; the installation of cramp anchors in the cornice stone; the construction of concrete window wells at two basement windows; and various other work. [46]

The project began on January 24, 1984, with the removal of sill from the basement windows and the installation of plywood covers. On February 23, scaffolding was erected on the northeast quadrant of the building, and paint was stripped from the masonry. The window sills and sash were removed, and the window jambs repaired. Brick and stone joints were repointed, leaded copper was put on the cornices, damaged cornice stones were removed, and three coats of paint were applied to 90% of the surface. In April, scaffolding was erected on the southeast quadrant where similar work took place, which was completed by November. A delay was caused in the work on the northeast quadrant after the discovery of a large cornice stone which needed replacement. The stone was replaced and the area painted by September. Scaffolding was erected in November 1984 on the southwest quadrant, with work progressing quickly (as no stones needed replacement), to completion in May 1985. [47] Smaller replacement stones were rejected by project supervisor Charles "Jerry" Shaffer for not meeting contract specifications, and were not installed until May 1986. [48]

Old Courthouse sheathed in scaffolding
The Old Courthouse sheathed in scaffolding, October 1986. NPS photo.

The dispute over the stonework proved to be only one of several problems NPS officials had with the contractor. Among others identified by project supervisor Shaffer were dust [49] and water from the paint removal process entering the building, no security fence around the scaffolding, window sills painted the wrong color, work being done prior to approval, the placement of a 15-ton crane in the courtyard, and failure to secure the building at night. The latter problem resulted in one break-in after hours. [50] Despite these problems work continued, and by July 28, 1985, the project was declared substantially completed. [51]

Interior Restoration, 1983-1988

In conjunction with the exterior rehabilitation, work began on the interior of the Courthouse dome. In June 1983 architects from the Denver Service Center identified major problems and established the plan for a scope of work statement. Sections of plaster originally repaired in 1955 had detached from the wooden lath in the dome. In addition to being unsightly, this situation presented a safety hazard, since falling plaster posed a danger to people in the rotunda area. The architects decided to remove all the plaster from the ribs and top cornice ring of the main dome, and replaster the area over a new metal lath. This solution destroyed evidence of original decorative designs covered by the subsequent paint scheme, but samples of these designs were salvaged. [52] On September 28, 1984, Midwest Construction Company was awarded a $277,778 contract for the interior restoration of the dome. [53]

Part of the project was a comprehensive special investigation to determine the best means of preserving existing decorative painting, and restoring a selected decorative design scheme in the upper rotunda and main dome. The contract for this phase of the work was awarded to the Conrad Schmitt Studios of New Berlin, Wisconsin, on June 26, 1984, for $54,921. [54] Restoration work on the dome interior began with the erection of scaffolding in the rotunda, commencing November 28, 1984. By February 2, 1985, the scaffolding was in place from the floor of the rotunda to the dome, and the three month, on-site investigation began. The conservators sought to determine the existence of decorative treatments in the rotunda, visually sequencing layers of paint under a microscope, carefully removing layers to expose the designs beneath, accurately tracing patterns for each design, and developing a comprehensive color chronology coded to the Munsell Color System. Both stencil and hand-painted patterns were found, along with more than 400 separate colors. [55] Recommendations were made for each of the historic paintings in the rotunda, including the identification of any retouching deemed necessary. [56] Loose paint was reattached and defective plaster spots repaired, cleaned, and applied with a protective coating. Decorative paint schemes from the top ring cornice of the main dome down to the fourth level rotunda walls were researched and recorded in a format that identified each total scheme as it existed at the time it was painted. [57]

Interior scaffolding, Old Courthouse. NPS photo.

restoration experts at work on the murals
Restoration experts at work on the murals, Old Courthouse rotunda, 1985. NPS photo.

In September 1985, an addition was made to the contract which provided for the creation of a full color rendering, by the artists of the Schmitt Studios, of the 1880 design scheme by Ettore Miragoli, in a cross-section of the rotunda from the top of the lantern to the first floor. The result was an artist's interpretation of the historical appearance of the rotunda showing depth and lighting highlights. The illustration was very successful, and was later sold as a poster. [58] The studio recommended that this 1880 design scheme be reproduced in the Old Courthouse, at an estimated cost of up to $975,000. Due to the excessive costs of the proposed project, and a feeling that the estimate was quite low, considering the work to be performed, this was not done. Instead, the "adaptive restoration" color scheme identified in 1955 by NPS painting conservator Walter Nitkiewicz was again utilized throughout the building. [59] However, "The Conrad Schmitt Studios' thorough investigative study . . . along with microscopic color analysis, serve[d] as an architectural record and documentary base for possible future restoration." [60]

On May 25, 1985, the subcontractor, the Cassidy Company, began plastering, and despite recurring problems with Midwest Construction, including a lack of workmen's compensation and liability insurance, concerns about the physical safety of the scaffolding, and physical arguments between workers, the project moved forward. [61] Work progressed steadily until July 12, 1985, when Midwest Construction informed the National Park Service that it would be unable to complete the job, as the company was bankrupt. [62] On July 13, the NPS terminated the contract with Midwest and the project was temporarily shut down. Responsibility for fulfilling the contract fell to the surety company, the Integon Indemnity Corporation. Integon retained the subcontractors and successfully administered the contract to completion in January 1986, with only one brief break in the work caused by a painters strike in December 1985. [63]

The plaster repair and painting from the fourth level to the first floor was also completed in 1986, using park staff rather than a contractor. This resulted in extra funds which were used to repair plaster deterioration in the east and west courtrooms on the second floor. [64]

In 1986, a proposal was submitted to the Regional Office regarding the installation of revolving glass doors and vestibules in the Old Courthouse, such as those used at the turn of the century, as an energy saving measure. The request was withdrawn after the Missouri State Historic Preservation Officer objected. "While our proposal may not have impacted the integrity of the building which resulted in its being nominated to the National Register," said Superintendent Schober, "we are not prepared at this time to revise the efforts of those who worked so hard to reestablish the 1870 facade." [65]

During the 1980s, the efficiency of the heating system of the Courthouse was improved by Facility Manager Bob Kelly, by upgrading the vacuum pump and cleaning the radiators; new air conditioning was also installed. The entire electrical system of the building was improved as an in-house project. Historic landscaping, exterior appearance and full building accessibility were subjects to be addressed during the 1990s. [66]

A Draft Historic Structure Preservation Guide was prepared for the Old Courthouse in 1988 by David Scherer and Paul Newman of the Denver Service Center. The guide was "less than effective" since it was not directly tied with the MMS computer system, and therefore was not used. [67] A computer program known as ICAP, in production during 1991, was expected to replace Preservation Guides such as this servicewide. [68]

With the completion of the decorative paint analysis and the replastering of the dome interior, the restoration and rehabilitation of the Old Courthouse was effectively finished. More than $2 million was spent in correcting the problems that had been identified in the mid-1970s, making the Old Courthouse a much safer and more attractive historic structure. [69]

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Last Updated: 15-Jan-2004