Historical Courthouse worthy of a look!

It’s a good time to be in Sterling and Logan County.

The cooperation of many has ignited the revitalization of Sterling’s downtown. The abundance of natural resources has energized an economic surge for the area. And the fickleness of Mother Nature ensures a variety of seasonal weather for all sorts of activities.

But how many times do you hear others – or find yourself – say, “There’s nothing to do?” Oh, sure, we don’t have a mountain here in Logan County, but we certainly have our own attractions and activities that will give anyone something to do.

And they’re easy to find - just set aside some time and roam freely.

Park your car, take a walk downtown and imagine Sterling’s early majesty as Queen City on the Plains. Main Street is now a mix of grand historical buildings and vibrant shops for myriad tastes.

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Start with the stately and historically preserved Logan County Courthouse. Built at a cost of $100,000 by Kaepernik and Jenkins, it was dedicated on March 5, 1910 with a local orchestra playing in the rotunda. (By the way, happy anniversary Logan County Courthouse!)

Enjoy the paintings of early life by local artist Eugene Carara on the lower floor of the Courthouse. Framed original linen blueprints by John J. Huddart, architect of the grand building, hang on the walls of the main level.

The building is an intact example of renaissance revival architecture with corner quoining, and simple cornice.  The blonde colored brick structure has white colored terra cotta detailing and a poured concrete foundation. Decorative terra cotta quoining exists on each corner and also occurs around each entry door. Decorative windows, lug sills, and chimney and dormer details are also terra cotta. The north, east, and west entry stairs to the first floor are stone with solid stone balustrades.  Stairs to the basement are located along the north and west elevations.

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The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. Extensive restoration was done in 1984 and again in the early 2000s.

The first round of refurbishment was highlighted by:

•Restoration of rotunda columns, decorative ceiling trim painting, woodwork, walls and floors. Every effort was made to utilize original colors and painting techniques.

•Original fire hoses were recovered and restored and hang in the rotunda of each floor. They are now for decorative purposes only.

•Replacement of the stained glass in the ceiling of the rotunda and installation of backlighting. The original stained glass was reportedly broken by a roll of roofing material falling through it during repair work many years ago.

•Placement of Carara’s oil paintings in the basement rotunda area. Individual paintings were purchased by private citizens and then donated to Logan County to keep the collection together. Each painting is symbolic of a historically important event or location to the people of northeastern Colorado.

In the early 2000s, further renovations included the installation of an elevator in the southwest quadrant of the building which takes passengers from the basement up to the first and second floors. A secondary staircase was installed in the same area to allow for the removal of the unsightly exterior fire escape.

The building's electrical system was completely upgraded and the original steam radiators were replaced by individual heating and cooling units.

Interior office spaces were restored on all floors using historical paint color schemes; original flooring was repaired and restored; windows and interior doors were refinished; and in some cases, local craftsmen replicated original doors, trim and counters that were removed in past remodeling efforts.

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The last and final phase of restoration included the renewal of the courthouse dome to the original copper finish, replacement of the flag pole, roof and gutter repairs and remaining brick, stone and concrete masonry repairs. In 2013, a Flag Day ceremony was held to commemorate the first flag flown over the courthouse in many decades. Congressman Cory Gardener's office donated the flag which was once flown at the U.S. Capitol. The flag is now on display in the first floor display case.

The county’s 108-year-old historic building is really something to see. The next time you think there’s “nothing to do,” go ahead and roam freely… and check it out.


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