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Public Affairs
Department


P.O. Box 1989
West Palm Beach, FL 33402-1989
(561) 355-2754
FAX: (561) 355-3819
http://www.pbcgov.com
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Palm Beach County
Board of County
Commissioners


Priscilla A. Taylor
Mayor

Paulette Burdick
Vice Mayor

Hal R. Valeche

Shelley Vana

Steven L. Abrams

Mary Lou Berger

Jess R. Santamaria


County Administrator

Robert Weisman



"An equal opportunity
Affirmative Action Employer"


Electronic Press Release

 

Court House Restoration Update—May 2007

 


Original Cornerstones and
Reconstructed Eagle Installed

Commissioners
Palm Beach County Commissioners gather at the Court House for a “tap in” ceremony, marking the installation of the two original cornerstones on the building’s northwest side.  Pictured above (l to r):  Commissioners Jeff Koons, Warren H. Newell, Burt Aaronson, Addie L. Greene, Karen T. Marcus and Jess R. Santamaria.

On May 15, 2007, visitors to the construction site were able to see two additions to the Court House: the original cornerstones on the northwest corner and the reconstructed eagle on the west side over the main entrance.

Marble Cornerstones Mounted on Northwest Corner

On the northwest corner of the Court House there are two marble cornerstones affixed with wires and pins.  Each square weighs approximately 400 pounds and measures three feet long by three feet wide and about three inches thick.  When the original courthouse building was enclosed by a wraparound facade in 1970, the cornerstones were removed and remounted in the brick stairwell leading to the main lobby. When the wraparound was removed, the cornerstones were saved, and on May 15, 2007 finally installed back in the same exact location they occupied on the original building.

Northstone of Historic Court House
The cornerstone facing north is engraved with the names of the 1915 Board of County Commissioners as well as the contractor and architect of the original courthouse.
Flagler Stone
The square facing west recognizes Henry M. Flagler who donated the land.
Court House Hoist
Prior to the “tap in” ceremony, four workers did the real work using a crane to hoist the cornerstones into place.

Reconstructed Eagle Perches Atop Main Entrance

Above the west entrance of the Court House sits an eagle crest carved from Indiana limestone.  The five-month process of constructing the eagle was challenging as the original carving was lost during construction of the 1970 wraparound facade. Detailed drawings were created based on an archival photograph of the Court House from the 1940s and images of similar eagles from the same time period in North America.

A small clay maquette was made and then a full-sized clay model.  A rubber mold was fabricated to create a negative for the plaster mold.  Then it took three months for three stone carving experts to recreate the eagle in limestone with a tedious 800-year-old technique used by Italian sculptors such as Michelangelo and Bernini. 

Traditional Cut Stone, Ltd., of Ontario, Canada used Indiana limestone to carve the eagle and all the new stone for the restored courthouse.  Delivery to the site required 36 tractor-trailer loads of material.  The new limestone is from the same quarry that provided the limestone for the original construction.  This same limestone was also used to build the Empire State Building.  Other projects by the Ontario company include stone carving for the exterior of Graff Diamonds on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach and restoration carving for the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. 

Eagle Clay Model
This full-sized clay model was used to create the limestone carving.
Eagle Close-up
The 11-foot-wide, 6-foot-tall and 2-foot-thick carving weighing six tons depicts an eagle with a wreath wrapped around its body and ribbon beneath its claws.

Watch the renovation as it happens on the Web cam.

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