The check written for just over $169,000 was the full amount
needed to remove and replace the roof of the historic building.
There would also be work done on the crossbeams above the second
Because of the repair work to the crossbeams the courthouse will be
closed to the public for approximately one month, with work starting
this coming Monday. When the crossbeam work is done, the
courthouse’s ground floor will be re-opened to the public, while the
balance of the roofing project is completed.
Martin addressed the group, saying it was hard to know where to
start in speaking about this project. He noted that everyone present
had played a big role in accomplishing this.
He said it had been a community project, but not just a community
project. He noted that donations to the Foundation had come from
areas throughout the state of Illinois, the entire United States,
and even from around the world. He noted the tremendous efforts made
by students at the Mount Pulaski Grade School, as well as efforts by
students at the high school.
He said it had been a five year project and was still ongoing. All
together right now, the Foundation has raised just over $400,000 to
support the courthouse. Martin said that $50,000 had been spent on
small projects around the courthouse and grounds. That money
included replacing windows, doing repairs on the courthouse steps,
and several other small projects.
Martin said the roof would be the first big project to sustain the
building for the next 100 years. He noted that the roof on the
building now was put on in 1936, so it has served the courthouse
well for the last 80 years.
Martin said that on Friday, he and Renee Martin would deliver a
check to the state in the amount of $169,828. He told those present,
“We’re going to be very tight with that money, and we have complete
approval on any additions. We will watch that money like it is our
own because it is our own.”
Martin also said that when the check is handed over to the state, he
will also advise state authorities that the next project for the
courthouse will be to address the exterior paint issues.
Last year, Martin shared the story about the paint on the exterior
of the building. He said that in an effort to maintain the building,
the exterior had been painted. Though it was a very well-intentioned
endeavor, an error was made in the type of paint that was applied to
the brick structure. The paint used was not suitable for the brick
surface and as a result, it caused serious moisture issues inside
the building. He had at that same time talked about the impact this
had on the interior of the building, causing condensation in the
walls and ceilings that resulted in peeling paint and enormous
cracks in the ceilings. At that original account of the problem,
Martin said the solution would have to be to remove the paint from
the building, and re-paint it with a product suitable for masonry.
Martin said this week, the plan would be to resolve the paint issue
and thus the moisture issue. Once that is completed, the next step
in the restoration of the building will be to repair the plaster
inside the building and paint.
Martin said he wanted to acknowledge a few people in particular. He
asked that the former site superintendent Wally Kautz and the
current superintendent Barbara Stroud-Borth join him at the steps of
the courthouse. He noted that in 2011 it was Kautz, Stroud-Borth and
himself, who met across the street at the café’ and said, “What are
we going to do?” He said the plan built from there. He added, “I am
very appreciative of their guidance, and all the work they have done
to support the courthouse.”
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He then asked Doug Thompson to join him, with the super-sized
version of the check that will be given to the state. Martin
explained that the amount of money required had changed at the last
minute, so the check didn’t have quite the right dollar amount
written in, but it was representative of what will be paid to the
He said that the days to completion of the entire project
was 180 days. He said while the interior work for the crossbeams in
the attic is being done, the courthouse will be closed to the
public. He said the estimate is for one month, but he hopes it will
be less. Once that work is completed, the ground floor will re-open.
He noted that the sides of the courthouse lawn will be closed to the
public for safety purposes, but the front walkway will be opened and
maintained in a safe manner.
Martin also shared that the Foundation had presented quite a dilemma
for the state. He said when the Foundation approached the state and
said it was willing to fund the entire project, it presented the
state with a puzzle. Martin said state officials said that they had
in the past had communities give a donation to a state-funded
project, but “we have never had a community say, we’ll fund the
entire project. We don’t know how to handle that.” Martin said that
made him very proud of his community, and again grateful.
Also on hand was the architect for the project, Dave Leonatti of
Melotte, Morse, Leonatti, Parker, Ltd. of Springfield. Martin said,
“Dave has been a great influence, a positive influence, always
saying ‘we’re going to get it done.’ Dave is as excited as anyone to
get to this point.”
Before the official announcement, Stroud-Borth explained part of the
process involved with doing work on a state historic site. She said
that the items that were upstairs had to be inventoried and moved,
with a record of where each piece was stored. She said some of the
larger pieces of furniture would remain upstairs but would be moved
to the side of the room and protected. She also noted that the
second story flooring, which is original to the building has been
covered to protect it from falling debris during the restoration
The Mount Pulaski Courthouse is a State of Illinois Historic Site
under the oversight of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.
Throughout the years, the state has struggled to support its
historic sights and the Mount Pulaski community has stepped up to
the plate on several occasions to help keep the courthouse open and
available to the public. On Thursday evening, Martin said that the
Foundation appreciated what the state and the IHPA have done to
support the courthouse and that they have been good to work with on
The Mount Pulaski Courthouse Foundation was formed in 2011. In
January of 2015, the Foundation introduced the “Abe’s Million”
fundraising project with the goal of raising $1 million for the
restoration and upkeep of the courthouse. That fundraiser is still
ongoing. Anyone who wishes to support the fundraiser may donate
online by visiting the Foundation website and clicking on “Donate”
at the top of the page on the far right side. The Foundation is a
501(c)3 Not-for-profit and donations may be tax deductible.
Pulaski Courthouse Foundation