Lady Justice now stands atop new marble pedestal

Oakland County’s most prominent legal employee is about to get a new soapbox to stand on in downtown Pontiac.

Restoration of the Lady Justice
statue in front of the Oakland County Courthouse began last year after
foul weather tore away her scales and cracked her arm. She was set to
return in May, but county officials discovered that her cinder block
and stucco base was also cracked and needed work. A new marble base
that not only matches the courthouse’s exterior but came from the same
stone quarry has been ordered.

“The statue turned out so
fantastic we wanted to put it on a better pedestal,” says Steven
Sanford, an Oakland County project coordinator for facilities
engineering.

The county bought the 9-foot-tall statue in 1904
from W.H. Mullins, a Salem, Ohio-based company that manufactured
statues. She stood guard in front of the old Oakland County Courthouse
until 1962, when the building was demolished. After spending the next
two decades in storage, she was returned to the plaza in front of the
new courthouse until last year’s storm exposed the cracks that had been
weathering on her for years.

The Fine Arts Sculpture Center in
Clarkston recently conducted a $40,900 restoration of Lady Justice, but
a century of life deteriorated her pressed zinc frame to the point that
it needs to be indoors to survive. She will be installed in the
courthouse and a new bronze copy of the statue will replace Lady
Justice at the courthouse’s south plaza. Both are expected to be
installed by the end of the summer.

Oakland County is currently
trying to raise money to restore the statue and to buy a new one. For
information, contact Penny Knope at knopep@oakgov.com or call (248)
858-1208.

Source: Steven Sanford, project coordinator for facilities engineering at Oakland County
Writer: Jon Zemke