Polk to repair cupola

Published 1:40 pm Monday, January 13, 2020

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Commissioners contract for $32,000 to repair damage from lightning

COLUMBUS—A large crane will be coming to Columbus sometime soon to repair damage to the Polk County Courthouse cupola. 

The Polk County Board of Commissioners approved a contract in December to repair damage done in 2018 from lightning. 

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Commissioners approved transferring $11,726 from what was reserved last year in capital reserves and transferring another $20,274 from contingency in this year’s budget to pay for the repairs. 

Polk County Manager Marche Pittman said plans are for the repairs to begin sometime soon. 

Strong storms caused the damage when lightning struck the cupola, which sits on top of the county courthouse in downtown Columbus in August 2018. 

The lightning strike hit the spire and blew out of the center of the cupola. 

The damage from the lightning strike includes a few missing boards from the cupola. 

The courthouse is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. The county has renovated the courthouse twice since 2000, spending at least $1 million each time.

The Polk County Courthouse is the second oldest courthouse still in use in the state, with construction completed in 1859, just four years after the county was formed.

The builders were Ephraim Clayton and George Shackelford, who were reportedly paid $16,836 to construct the building.

The courthouse bricks were made from native clay, and were baked nearby. The design of the courthouse is a Greek Revival style, which was popular in North Carolina in the 1830s, 1840s and 1850s.

The courthouse once housed all county offices, and still houses court offices and the courtroom upstairs, which holds court at least once per week.