Part Two – A History
Part Three- The Rhetoric of Right
As I entered the building, following Karen Davis-County Facilities Director, my thoughts turned quickly from my trepidation at entering the bowels of a supposed “pit” – a smelly, dank and dire place with mould and slime dripping on heads, rat droppings and certain risks to my health – to dismay as I saw what had happened to this once grand old lady.
The vivid pictures in my mind of decay, as described by Tim Lubbe and the darling of the media attorney, Chandra, as they had sent photographers willy – nilly around the building showing the disgraceful conditions.
You can view photographs of the “troubled areas” in this article in the Chronicle Telegram
Commissioner says old Lorain County Courthouse not so terrible Filed on June 26, 2014 by Brad Dicken
Lubbe said workers deserve to work in a healthy and secure workplace. Lubbe said if commissioners insist they stay at the courthouse, the court will comply, but it will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to make repairs.
He said problems include water and raw sewage leaking from the third floor into second-floor rooms where employees work. Lubbe said the lobby accommodates about a dozen people, but 100 come through on a regular basis, making it unsafe
I asked Ms. Davis to take me through all the areas complained about, photographed and written about in “legal ease letters from Chandra ( after all I, the taxpayer was paying for these epistles). To her credit, Ms. Davis made no comment as we toured the building from top to bottom.
YES! it is disgraceful but not because of unseen rat droppings, or mould and slime dripping on heads. What was disgraceful is the fact a once beautiful, ornate and powerful building has essentially been assaulted. I was greeted by a rabbit warren of cut up offices, walls thrown up to make cubby hole offices- with no regard to atheistic or the buildings mechanics let alone historical significance
ED NOTE-LORAIN COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR JIM CORDES STATED:
The only significant renovation after the seventies was the installation of a court in the basement when a new judgeship was ordered in Lorain county. The rest, as you view it now was worked in and around everything that happened prior. And none of us were here for the court installation in the lower level
The building is just chopped up to the point where we can’t do good work here,” Cwalina said. “We just can’t.”
walls covered in textured wallpaper- all adding to the “sponge effect” of grabbing odours and bacteria , holding fast. That, coupled with the trapped air, air only recirculated in summer with air-conditioning and winter with heat. No gentle breezes wafted through open windows.
As I walked though one area, there was a definite odor. This area was one of the area where everything had been closed off and not one bit of “fresh air” circulated. The odour wasn’t gas or mould but BODY ODOUR of the many who passed through the area . The building has BO! It needs an airing!
The feeling of sickness in my stomach came not from the smell of gas but the odoriferous lack of design, care and disgraceful treatment of this once proud house of justice by those that “improved” . The people of design in past decades , the decorators who painted over her body had prostituted her for their own ends. They had ripped from her innards any worthiness and covered over the beautiful wood work with purple based brown paint.
Did anyone speak for the victim as she was sliced and diced? Did not one person in all those decades of abuse ever say NO? Was there one among those who said “this is wrong- we are destroying our own historical worth- we the gatekeepers of law and government- did no one advocate as they lowered her ceiling covering up the artisans craft of centuries?
Ah and NOW they complain she isn’t good enough for a third world country . Those who have painted over her remaining doors, painted her walls so the bricks can no longer breathe, trapping in her 10 inch walls the very moisture they now complain about. They have laid rubber and plastic on floors that used to breathe and glow with the fragrance of beeswax. Every so often peeking out from the “mediocre modernization” a glimpse of what used to be .
The room where the gym resides – where men and presumably women work up a sweat , as they workout on gym mats ( always such a pleasant smell – gym floor mats), punch the bag and lift the weights. No longer do breezes, carried by the outside trees, enter the room to erase the stink of man.
A room full of old clothes, presumably handed out to those clients in need , clients of the Probation Dept. One has to ask could not those items be dispensed through another agency as the stench of old shoes mingled with the musty odor of the rest of the contents? It certainly added to the odors.
As we walked out into the corridor once more, another entranceway was bricked up- on the other side was a huge panel and a storage room which maintained the original integrity of the brickwork and wooden floor and surprise – here at least there was no smell of “progress” some dust but no decay and bacteria assaulted the nostrils
Did those who came after the architect and builders in 1881 have no inkling as to why buildings were designed and built they way they were? There was a purpose and a method in their madness as they built their buildings to last and make a statement .The high ceilings allowed for heat to escape upwards in the summer – those have been lowered and covered over with acoustic tile now trapping the air , heat and germs.
The thick walls retained heat in winter and stopped summer heat. The walls breathed – no longer- they are covered and suffocating under paper and layers of paint. The improvements of the decades are “killing” the building slowly.
Hardwood floors, for the winter warmth and cooling tiles in areas where water could splash and coolness were needed. Doorways and windows designed and placed strategically to bring in cross breezes to air out the building. All these have been bastardized shrunk down and closed permanently.
Buildings are more than the sum of their individual components. The design, materials, type of construction, size, shape, site orientation, surrounding landscape, and climate all play a role in how buildings perform. Historic building construction methods and materials often maximized natural sources of heat, light and ventilation to respond to local climatic conditions
Operable windows, interior courtyards, clerestories, skylights, rooftop ventilators, cupolas, and other features that provide natural ventilation and light can reduce energy consumption
Thick masonry walls typical of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries have inherent thermal characteristics that keep the buildings cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Walls with substantial mass have the advantage of high thermal inertia, which reduces the rate of heat transfer through the wall. For instance, a wall with high thermal inertia, subjected to solar radiation for an hour, will absorb the heat at its outside surface, but slowly transfer it to the interior over a period as long as six hours
We finally came to the famous “feces toilet”- the doorway padlocked the toilets wrapped in plastic.
ED NOTE you can see photos of Tim Lubbe’s complaints here https://www.dropbox.com/sc/ea02qpuxqp24jme/AABBAOKr08J5Z-ktbPxcySpna
Obviously, since those pictures were taken “clean up” and repairs have been accomplished. Dampness and or leaks will cause the intricate plaster work on these lovely old buildings to deteriorate and decay. That is a problem of lack of maintenance or leaks not detected.
Most of the pictures in the Lubbe album are due to failing plaster and paint and the bastardization of added heating and electrical systems over the decades with no regard to the integrity of the structure
Back to the toilets, which in the photos are a disgrace.
-the door is locked now ( and obviously the toilets are now cleaned and secured ( there is no running water in that bathroom) – A bathroom that no one apparently knew was being used- well except by the people using it . As stated, in one of the previous news articles, the Commissioners were unaware the “Probation Dept.” had been moving their ” offices etc’ to that floor -
and the door was unlocked – not because of a toilet access – but access needed to the electrical panel and the light which is also housed behind that door.
I wondered who had been using those facilities? Was it the homeless also was mentioned in a Chronicle article- clients of the court-house – workers and WHY didn’t anyone ever call maintenance upon discovery of such human filth?
I could go on and on BUT there is not much point you see although I have come to a conclusion:
My judgment in this case – The Demise of Lorain County Court House
– IS TO FIND THE JUSTICES THE COMMISSIONERS OF DECADES PAST
E.W. DeChant-J.E. Davidson- O.G. Dunn (circa 1940) -
GUILTY OF “CONTEMPT” OF THE HISTORICAL WORTH AND LEGACY LEFT TO THEM AS GUARDIANS OF THIS YOUNG COUNTRY’S WORTHINESS AND VALUES!
GUILTY OF ENABLING THE CONTINUED BASTARDIZATION OF AN ICON OF THIS COUNTRY’S AND COUNTY’S HISTORICAL RECORD , AND LEGACY. FAILING TO CORRECT THE ACTS OF DEGRADATION BY THEIR PREDECESSORS AND THEREFORE NOT FIT GUARDIANS OF A NATIONAL HISTORICAL REGISTERED BUILDING .
I FIND THE “JUDGES OF TODAY” –
GUILTY OF WASTING TAXPAYERS MONEY IN THROWING DOWN THE GAUNTLET IN THE FIRST PLACE AND FORCING, THROUGH THE HIRING OF AN ATTORNEY (CHANDRA), MORE MONEY TO BE WASTED BY THE COUNTY.
BOTH PARTIES ARE FOUND
GUILTY OF WASTING THE COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION’S TIME IN A MATTER THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN SETTLED AMONG THE RESPONSIBLE ELECTED OFFICIALS!
However, as Judge Burge likes to say the above is “moot” because what little of this edifice’s past glory is left will soon be gone as well- according to an email received on July 30th from Tim Lubbe:
….It is my understanding that the County Commissioners have determined that the Adult Probation Department is to be situated in the old Courthouse. While it is the Court’s position that the costs of remodeling this facility far exceeds the expense of relocating the Adult Probation department to the 5th floor of the Justice Center, nevertheless the Court acknowledges that it is the Commissioners prerogative to spend or misspend money as they deem appropriate.
Additionally, I would note the remodeling to be performed will strictly focus on functionality not historic restoration. In fact, any remaining historical features in the building’s interior will likely not survive this conversion…….
What a sad ending for a grand old lady!
I am so glad I come from a land (England) that recognizes the worthiness of history , the buildings , the craftsmanship of yesteryear. I cannot fathom the thinking of those that dismiss so lightly their own history- We are but the caretakers………. but most do not care……….
Part One – The Background
Part Two – A History
In 1940 the County Commissioners decided the dome was unsafe and they took it down BUT they were in the midst of a campaign to have the whole building destroyed and replaced by WPA financed building http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Works_Progress_Administration
In fact, those same commissioners tried time and time again to take down the building..
pdf file of the information here
and here courthouse info2
Heman Ely deeded the land to be used for the purpose of a “permanent court house”. A building that cost $200,00 in 1881 which in today’s money is the equivalent of $4,545,454.55
But it seems over the years this grand dame of Elyria has suffered much at the very hands of those who were her supposed caretakers :
In September 2012 the Toledo Blade
carried the call from Commissioner Tom Williams:
“It’s deteriorating. The grounds are in bad condition,” said first-term Lorain County Commissioner Tom Williams. “The building itself has mold in it. It’s just an old building now. I wouldn’t say it’s historic anymore. It’s more of a liability for the county.”
Although two of Lorain County’s three commissioners insist they have no interest in razing the old courthouse, Mr. Williams says something needs to be done to halt the building’s decline, and demolition may be more “cost-effective” than renovation.
ELYRIA — Lorain County Common Pleas Judge James Miraldi told the county commissioners on Wednesday that he was “appalled” by the state of the old Lorain County Courthouse, which houses the county’s Adult Probation Department.
“What I saw over there wouldn’t be appropriate for a probation department in a Third World country,” Miraldi said.
Miraldi said he and other judges toured the building earlier this week and saw black mold, asbestos, a broken elevator and numerous other problems in the more than century-old building.
Common Pleas Judge John Miraldi, who also took the tour, referred to the old Courthouse as “that pit” and said there were serious air quality problems inside.
NOTE all photos sources Lorain County.
Two Miraldis of the same mind apparently. Ah! the minds of men – and the what were they thinking department?.
First the caretakers of law and government abuse her over the decades by lopping off her head so to speak, denigrated her worth and beauty and then over the years tried to further finish her off by abusing her insides so terribly that she is no longer the once beautiful and proud icon of law and order.
She has become institutionalized with sea grass wallpaper , her beautiful tile work ripped up, hardwood floors covered with industrial carpeting an ersatz icon of faded glory not even good enough for the third world!
And some how this is “her fault”. And the taxpayer is paying to sort out the mess ONCE AGAIN !
Moot’ order over courthouse keys now vacated Filed by Brad Dicken
The commissioners met with their newly hired lawyer Monday in executive session to discuss their options and prepare a reply.
Because Burge has rescinded his court order, there won’t be an immediate need for a hearing, Kalo said. The judge potentially could have held the commissioners in contempt of court for refusing to follow his order.
Commissioner Tom Williams said he wants to end the feud as soon as possible so both sides can stop paying their lawyers.
ED NOTE The Judges have Hired Subodh Chandra and the taxpayers have paid out $50,000 retainer fee- expenses of approximately $33,000 so far – is that part of the $50,000 – this taxpayer hasn’t had an answer from Mr. Lubbe
County Prosecutor Dennis Will, who normally represents both the commissioners and the judges, has removed his office from involvement in the dispute.
“I’m hoping we can open up the lines of communication and try to come up with some agreement instead of taking this to court,” Williams said.
Reprinted with permission
Elyria In Vintage Postcards – Benjamin J and Anne Fische Mancine - Arcadia Publishing on line http://www.arcadiapublishing.com 888-313-2665 – and Amazon Books
TO BE CONTINUED………..
Heman Ely, the founder of Elyria and leading proponent of establishing Lorain County, offered to donate land adjacent to the park he had given to Elyria. In addition, he offered to donate $2000 toward the construction of a permanent courthouse, to build a jail and sheriff’s residence behind the courthouse, and to build a temporary courthouse to use until the permanent structure was completed.
Edmund West signed a Declaration of Trust (Feb. 14th 1823) that when Ohio organized Lorain County he would convey land Heman Ely had given him (back on 22 February 1822) to the Lorain County commissioners. Ebenezer Lane, on another receipt dated 14 February 1823, stated that he was given a deed between Heman Ely and Henry Brown for lots 1-2 and 6-7 to cover a bond to raise $3000 for Lorain County court buildings.
You can find more of the Heman Ely story here :
It was a big thing back in the days of this new country, now forming its own government apart and distanced from England; they knew full well the importance of “law”- “justice”
and “accountability”. This United States was founded upon the rules of law.
If men were angels, no government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.
James Madison, Federalist Paper No. 51 (1788)
It was important the edifices built for government and the judiciary were of an imposing, solid-and impressive design as they were the icons of the ideals of democracy. This new country and her laws had to be seen as stable and long-lasting. The architecture of the day was the “marketing ” to the population of stability, a government for the people etc. the populace needed reassurance this government of the United States of America would be seen to last and be successful, the bricks and mortar of the new government were a way of reassurance to the population.
1828 The first permanent county courthouse was begun in the public square. It was red brick with a bell cupola and fireplaces in each room. Heman Ely donated land and money for this building
1881- A new County Courthouse was finished and was the largest and most elegant building in Elyria. It was built of local Amherst sandstone.
One can imagine the pride Elyrians must have felt watching this wonderful edifice rising from the ground – majestic , purposeful and making a statement of “law” “democracy” and “success” carved out of a wilderness.
Apparently an architect was hired- Elijah E Meyers
Elijah E. Myers (December 22, 1832, Philadelphia – March 5, 1909, Detroit) was a leading architect of government buildings in the latter half of the 19th century, and the only architect to design the capitol buildings of three U.S. states, the Michigan State Capitol, the Texas State Capitol, and the Colorado State Capitol
The years passed, discussion in 1937 came into play as to the deteriorating metal structures on top of the court house. Therefore , man in their wisdom, decided sometime in 1943 to take off the beautiful dome and with it Lady Justice-
Lady Justice is seen as a blindfolded woman in a toga holding a sword in one hand and a balance (or scales) in the other. She is seen as the epitome of fairness and moral force, and is usually intended as the icon of Judicial Systems. In Roman mythology, she is known as Justitia. In Greek mythology, she’s known as Themis (the goddess of divine order) and her daughter, Dike (who carries scales). In Egyptian mythology, she’s known as Maat, and later, Isis. The Greek goddess Nemesis, as the goddess of vengeance, was the goddess who carried the sword, and the Roman goddess Fortuna (which means “fate”) was the goddess who was blindfolded. As an amalgam of all of these symbols, Lady Justice represents a goddess of divine order who balances fate and vengeance, and collectively represents justice internationally.
It was probably more cost-effective to “remove” than refurbish- Step one in the decline of “reason- perpetuity and pride.
However, in 1975, even without her “top”, Lorain County Court House was deemed still significant enough to be added to the National Historic Register in 1975.
Lady Justice has apparently disappeared from her court house and the court house has been left to a sad fate at the hands of “justices”
to be continued……….
Playing catch up the best coverage of the hand bags at dawn or gavels galore between the tenant ” Lorain County Common Pleas” and the landlord Lorain County Commissioners can be found in the Elyria Chronicle and Brad Dicken by Line
Judges: Put old Lorain County Courthouse on death row
Commissioners, judges engaged in deadlock over building access
Evan Goodenow also filed a story for the Chronicle
Commissioners say plan to move Probation Department too costly
But it was the article by Lisa Roberson of the Chronicle that sent this “that woman” off on her own perspective of the taxpayer who will end up paying the “lawyers for both sides now “
Lorain County judges hire legal counsel in probation department dispute
My take found here on the judiciary jousting of 2014
On July 18th, since things had gone quite quiet I sent an email to Tim Lubbe the “spokesperson for the judges and the probation dept”
for just how much money had been spent by them on Chandra , the attorney He had seemingly done his usual PR in the media opening volley -
Not wanting to take anyone else’s perspective whether it was the judges take or the commissioners take – I decided – since it had gone quiet- to see for myself.
I made arrangements as a “taxpayer” to take the tour. Of course as luck would have it the day scheduled also happened to be the day another ” legal fisticuffs ” took off . By noon that day ( Friday the 25th of July) was the deadline and my appointment was for 11:00 am.
I wondered after reading all the articles of mould , asbestos , strange smells would I need hazmat gear to enter and now the added worry of being caught in the High Noon deadline as an innocent taxpayer.
County commissioners said Thursday they will defy a court order issued by Lorain County Common Pleas Judge James Burge requiring them to turn over the keys to all doors on the second floor of the old Lorain County Courthouse by noon today.
It was therefore with some trepidation I returned to the Elyria Court House, I say returned because 20 years ago I was there on jury duty. ( please note they never asked me back ;)
I sat on the bench watching the foot traffic , the day was one of those sparkling feel good weather days. If I concentrated on the building itself, ignoring the sounds of the traffic, as the church bells rang out the hour I could almost imagine what it must have been like for those who had walked this way in an earlier time. Perhaps, they too had rested under the trees on a summer day when this once beautiful edifice was the pride of a new government and not carrion to be fought over
To be continued