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Mark Simonson

February 4, 2013

Lady Justice became plastic in 1970s Norwich


The restoration and repair of the statue was entrusted to the Cooperstown Graduate Program, through what was then the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, under the direction of Mr. and Mrs. Sheldon Keck. Faye Wrubel, a student of Professor Rostislav Hlopoff, volunteered to do the work.

With no chance of putting Lady Justice back on top of the courthouse, she was later placed in a display case indoors on the main floor.

In January 1978, a specially designated committee to oversee the $550,000 overall renovation project on the courthouse met Monday, Jan. 30, to decide on the replacement statue for the courthouse dome.

It was voted, 6-2, to authorize production of a plastic replica. There had been considerable debate since the previous summer on the choice of material, bronze or plastic.

The bronze replica came with a $14,750 price tag, while the plastic version would cost $10,250. The committee liked the lower cost, as well as the facts that the statue would be lighter and not require roof reinforcements, and would likely withstand the central New York weather elements longer.

This round of courthouse renovations was completed by 1979. The plastic replica was placed on the dome, and another plastic replica was created and placed in the chambers of the Chenango County Board of Supervisors.

The most recent renovations of Lady Justice came during 2012, in preparation for a celebration of the 175th anniversary of the Chenango County Courthouse on Saturday, Sept. 29. She was cleaned and re-sealed, and the gold dome received a new coat of paint.

This weekend: Some surprises and debates arose in a few Oneonta building projects in 1888.

City Historian Mark Simonson’s column appears twice weekly. On Saturdays, his column focuses on the area during the Depression and before. His Monday columns address local history after the Depression. If you have feedback or ideas about the column, write to him at The Daily Star, or email him at His website is His columns can be found at

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