Coshocton County Courthouse undergoing renovations

| December 9, 2014
Jim Lepi, Mark Sheets and Jason Ethell, all of Lepi Enterprises, Inc. are pictured doing work on the ceiling of the Common Pleas Court Room in the Coshocton County Courthouse. Beacon photo by Josie Sellers

Jim Lepi, Mark Sheets and Jason Ethell, all of Lepi Enterprises, Inc. are pictured doing work on the ceiling of the Common Pleas Court Room in the Coshocton County Courthouse. Beacon photo by Josie Sellers

COSHOCTON – In 2004, Irene Miller went to the Coshocton Foundation asking for funding to conduct a feasibility study on renovating the courthouse. Ten year later, Miller’s dream is becoming a reality. On Tuesday, Dec. 2, Lepi Enterprises started work on renovating the Common Pleas Court Room. After tearing down the drop ceiling, the staff at Lepi unveiled a beautifully-ornate high ceiling with three small paintings on the walls.

“We are bringing back the beauty of the Common Pleas Courtroom with the help of the community, Judge Batchelor, and the County Commissioners,” said Miller. “We have a lot of treasurers in this community, but we have to preserve this one.”

The present Coshocton County Courthouse was constructed from 1873 to 1875 and cost $65,597 to construct. Until 1824, court hearings were conducted in rented rooms above Charlie’s Tavern and the commissioners paid $30 a year for the rent and an extra $2 a year for a smaller jury room. In 1819, a log house was built to serve as the first courthouse. That was later torn down, and a new two-story building was constructed in 1824 for a cost of $1,984.

Notable changes in the courthouse include the removal of an iron fence in 1907, cannons and cannon balls placed in 1912, which were later removed for the war effort, and a large water fountain which was removed in 1949.

Other notable features at the Courthouse are the majestic clock tower which was a hand-wind instrument until it was motorized in 1940. Until that time, a janitor used to climb the steep staircase twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, to hand-wind the clock.

Another feature of the Courthouse is the bell, which was forged in Pennsylvania and transported from Cleveland on the Ohio Erie Canal to Roscoe Village. Apparently, as the canal passed through towns in Ohio, the bell would ring announcing its presence.

The mural painted by Arthur William Wolfe, which is 30 feet long and five feet high, is another notable aspect of the Courthouse. The mural hangs in the Common Pleas room and depicts the signing of the peace treaty between Bouquet and Native Americans in November 1764.

That room is currently the home of a huge metal scaffold, called a dance floor, where workers are currently restoring that beautiful ornate ceiling. It is unavailable for court hearings at this time, so the magistrate courtroom is being used.

“It’s amazing what the judge has given up,” said Miller. “He has given up his room for this renovation. But what we’re going to have after these three months is amazing.”

The public is invited to take a hard hat tour of the Courthouse on Jan. 12, 19, and 26, 2015 any time from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Call Miller at 545-9554 to RSVP.

“The judge is adamant that this project be open to the public,” said Miller. “He said himself that this is the public’s building.”

The Courthouse staff is also planning an open house in the summer where the public can tour the building and see it completed. The project is expected to take 120 days since its beginning on Tuesday, Dec. 2.

Editor’s Note: Special thank you to Irene Miller who contributed the historical portion of this article.

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About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

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