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Bringing back the history of courthouse

January 25, 2012

Pictured on the left, one of the original doorknobs that has been cleaned has a sharp contrast to the one that has not yet been cleaned. The doorknobs are being cleaned and replaced at the Auglaize County Courthouse.

Auglaize County maintenance workers have spent many of their spare hours cleaning the heavy duty metal door knobs and brass plates for 36 doors inside and outside the Auglaize County Courthouse.

“We started about four weeks ago,” county maintenance man Dave Masonbrink said. “We are spending time whenever we have it cleaning them.”

While many upgrades are being made during renovation to the building built in 1894, much of the original structure is being preserved. Currently workers are working on the 12 outside doors and 24 inside doors where the plates and door knobs are being removed and cleaned.

Even the original screws are being buffed and reused. Other than being in dire need of a cleaning, the knobs were still in as good a shape as when they were put in. Craftsmen obviously built things

to last, evident by shape of all of the components, staff members said.

“Those things are in better shape than anything you could buy today,” Masonbrink said. “The craftsmanship is

amazing.”

Masonbrink said the plates were being cleaned with a simple home-brewed formula combining flour, vinegar and salt to make a varnish remover. A buffing wheel is being used to buff the plates, door knobs and screws back to their original shine.

All of the work is being done in the powerhouse sitting adjacent to the courthouse building.

Magnetic locks will be used on the revamped courthouse, so Masonbrink said that adapting the door knobs to the new security features will not be a problem.

Several of the plates were a slightly different tone and took on a reddish glare, which Masonbrink said was because metal used in that time period was not quite as pure as metal today.

The courthouse first opened to the public in 1894, replacing the original courthouse built in 1851. Construction commenced on July 2, 1893 and n took 85 men about 18 months to complete. The building cost of $259,481. Renovations today are costing $8 million.

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