‘Endangered’ designation needed to help preserve Courthouse

Contractors are restoring the casements that secure the clocks in the Courthouse tower, replacing the glass coverings, replacing deteriorated boards, scraping and repainting.

Contractors are restoring the casements that secure the clocks in the Courthouse tower, replacing the glass coverings, replacing deteriorated boards, scraping and repainting.

The Preservation Trust of Wicomico has announced its plans to help the community with its efforts to preserve the historic county courthouse by nominating the structure for designation as an endangered site.

The Preservation Trust members feel the Wicomico County Council should be commended for taking action to save this historic monument and symbol of Wicomico County for the generations to come.

The County Council was informed of Preservation Trust’s plans at the council’s March 3 Proposed Capital Improvements Plan meeting, with a statement which included in part the following:

“The Preservation Trust of Wicomico Inc. is in the process of nominating the historic Wicomico County courthouse with Preservation Maryland for designation as an Endangered Maryland site.

“Recognition as an Endangered Maryland site benefits the community by providing opportunities for greater public awareness and dialogue, and for finding solutions that protect this threatened property.”

The Preservation Trust seeks to help the county in any way it can to preserve the structure and hopes that a designation as an endangered site will help the county locate additional resources to further preserve the building.

The council has proposed funding totaling $750,000 phased over Fiscal Years 2016-18 toward a program to make restoration repairs including the replacement of the roof and guttering system, reinforcement of the upper floor structure and clock tower, repair of the masonry, historic rehabilitation of the window and repainting of the exterior surfaces.

In 2013, the county engaged an engineering study by Simpson Gumpertz & Heger to assess the structure and provide recommendations on how to proceed with the needed repairs. The assessment study was for the building enclosure related to the exterior and adjacent inside infrastructure. The assessment was needed to address the emergency needs to prevent further damage or deterioration of the building.

The Preservation Trust is encouraged by the county’s efforts to preserve this important landmark and feels the endangered designation could help to address the long-term preservation needs of the historic courthouse.

The Preservation Trust looks forward to collaborating with the community to preserve and enjoy the distinctive 137-year-old landmark.

Community members are encouraged to contact the Preservation Trust for expressions of support for this nomination of the courthouse as an endangered site.

The historic courthouse is THE symbol of Wicomico County. It has been the cornerstone of the community since 1878 and symbolizes the region’s history, its unity, and the strength of its people.

The courthouse survived Salisbury’s devastating fire of 1886 and has been witness to all the good, the bad, and the proud history of this community.

That beautiful building is like a history book, with its pages describing a community that can do and survive anything.

The old courthouse looks out over Salisbury’s Downtown which is praised for its historic qualities as it is being increasingly revitalized.

Residents and visitors alike point to the old buildings, but it’s the old courthouse they look up to most of all. For many, that clock tower means home. No other building better represents the community.

Submitted on behalf of the Preservation Trust of Wicomico Inc. by Linda Duyer, who lives in Salisbury and is a board member. Contact her at lindaduyer1@yahoo.com

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