By Ryan Berry
GREENVILLE — Just over six months from the day that Lady Justice came down from her perch atop the Darke County Courthouse she found her way back to her home. The restoration of the statue took place over the winter by Midstate Contractors, Inc. of Marion. She came down on Dec. 1, 2022 and returned on Tuesday, June 6.
Lady Justice had stood atop the courthouse untreated since 1979, the year she was installed. Commissioner Matt Aultman credited a video he saw from a drone that brought the deterioriating condition to their attention. The commissioners turned to Dale Musser, facilities and safety manager, to research what it would take to have reconditioned.
He turned to Midstate Contractors who did a full restoration on the statue. According to the company, Lady Justice had to be taken apart in pieces and they removed all existing paint and loose metal. In addition to repairing the body of the statue, they also restored the original scales and built a new sword. They were also able to engineer additional framing and the structure inside to prevent damage from movement and to secure Lady Justice in place. The statue features a new base and support pole.
Lady Justice was painted and she was given a clear coat to help protect from the elements. The commissioners have been told the statue should hold its color for at least 15 years. Commissioner Aultman said, “I was glad to see her return.”
In addition to restoring Lady Justice, Midstate Contractors were also tasked with restoring the Mailman statue that was at the Darke County Airport. Although complete, the statue will stay in storage until the new terminal building is built.
According to Musser, the cost for the restoration and installation of both statues was approximately $40,000. Former Darke County Commissioner Mike Stegall called the money well spent.
The symbolism of Lady Justice is she blindfolded to show unbiased justice, holds the scales to recognize impartial decisions and carries a sword to indicate the power of justice.
To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected].