Staunton local repairs justice scales on Augusta County Courthouse statue

Published: May. 17, 2018 at 6:23 AM EDT
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isn't set to be complete until the fall of this year, but one piece of the building has been replaced and preserved.

Over a century ago, prominent architect T.J. Collins designed both the Augusta County Courthouse and the Rockingham County Courthouse. He chose two statues of "Lady Justice" out of a catalogue; his plans for the courthouse building said "Statue of Justice 4763 Mullins Catalog." The one in Staunton is now almost 110 years old.

The Rockingham County Courthouse Lady Justice statue is blindfolded, but Staunton local Doug Sheridan jokes that Augusta County's Lady Justice is so fair, she doesn't need a blindfold!

The Staunton statue was damaged in a January storm, but Doug Sheridan worked to restore it. The statue's scale of justice broke off from the rest of the piece, and the handle is missing. Sheridan has re-created the missing handle.

"So today, I get to go up and weld, solder it, braze it back into her hand," said Sheridan.

Sheridan has been a member of the Staunton community for about 25 years, and said he jumped at the challenge. He worked to keep the scales as authentic as possible, only creating a new handle for them.

"These were all bent up and mangled and probably should have been replaced, but I spent a lot of effort not replacing them and getting them back straight," explained Sheridan. "If you heat them, it makes them soft, so I got them basically back this way so we didn't have to replace anything but what was missing."

Sheridan said the heights made him nervous, but he appreciates the amount of work the County is putting into the building, and climbing the scaffolding was a no-brainer.

The renovations will include two primary phases: painting the cuppola over the roof, repairing the statue of Lady Justice and cleaning her, and chimney repairs in phase one; and installation of a new copper roof, along with gutters and downspouts, in phase two.