We’ve Come a Long Way!
It’s been 17 years since the handoff of the Old Washington County Courthouse to the Town of Salem and the creation of the Historic Salem Courthouse Preservation Association, Inc. (HSCPA).
Part of the original mission of HSCPA was to celebrate our past by restoring and preserving the Courthouse. In these seventeen years, there has been nearly one million dollars raised and put toward restoration work. We have restored the Great Hall, the front doors, the porch, stabilized a settling foundation wall, created an activity room, a handicap ramp system, an emergency “fire stairs” from the second floor, replaced the roof cornices and box gutters, and restored most of the windows in the courtroom.
We are anticipating final approval of a $125,000 State Assembly Grant through Carrie Woerner’s office. Working with the support of architects from John G. Waite and Associates Office, we will focus on using this money to advance our efforts to secure the exterior “envelope” of the building. This will include roofing, repointing, and painting. We’ll also finish the restoration of the courtroom windows. Our heating system will also get an upgrade. All of these new renovations will occur during this year of 2019 as we celebrate the 150th year of the construction of the Courthouse which was erected in 1869.
We’ve come a long way, but we still have a way to go to fully restore the building as we envisioned our goal from the beginning. After the “envelope” is completed, almost all of the interior work will be the next focus of our efforts. Finally, we hope to restore the tower on the front of the building and return the bell from its storage spot in the attic to its place of prominence in the new tower where it can be rung and heard once again.
As we work at restoring the physical building, we have worked with purpose to make the building available by providing programs and activities so that it has become a true “community center” for Salem. We will continue to expand our programs and keep them current with community needs as we move forward. In time the building will be restored to what it looked like 150 years ago. It will be beautiful. Equally important will be the fact that as a community center the people of Salem and all of Washington County will have a place to meet, to learn, to experience new things, and to enjoy the quality of life that is part of the rich heritage of the land we love and the place we call home.
MONEY RAISED FOR COURTHOUSE RESTORATION
2002 National Trust for Historic Preservation $2,500
2003 Preservation League of NYS $5,000
2004 NYS Council on the Arts $12,000
2004 NYS Legislative Grant (Betty Little) $30,000
2005 National Trust for Historic Preservation $5,000
2006 NYS Environmental Protection Fund $250,000
2007 National Trust for Historic Preservation $5,000
2007 NYS Legislative Grant (Betty Little) $30,000
2008 NYS Legislative Grant (Roy McDonald) $15,000
2009 1772 Foundation $40,000
2009 Ft. Miller Company (John Hedbring) $50,000
2009 Wash Co Home for Aged Women $3,500
2012 NYS Electric and Gas $38,000
2012 Empire State Development Corporation $10,000
2014 NYS Environmental Protection Fund $200,000
2014 Anonymous Donor (Match) $200,000
2016 Sheppard Broad Foundation $10,000
2019 Carrie Woerner Assembly Grant $125,000 TOTAL: $1,031,000
PROJECTS COMPLETED STUDIES & PUBLICATIONS
Front Doors Refinished and Re-Hung Existing Conditions/Feasibility Study (2003)
Temporary Handicap Bathroom Elevation Drawings & Schematic Study (’04)
Great Hallway Ceiling and Walls Historic Structures Report (2004)
Firestairs/Front Porch/Handicap Ramp & Side Deck Courthouse Strategic Plan (2006)
Bob Benn Activity Room/Mezzanine Jailhouse Feasibility Study (2008)
S.W. Corner Settling Restoration
Main Chimney Replacement
Roof Cornices and Box Gutters
ADDITIONAL WORK ON BARNS
Concrete Floor, New Lighting, Bathrooms, Painting, Storage Closet, Roof Maintenance
(Funding of about $25,000 provided by Thrift Shoppe over the years)