Restoration of Oakland County’s Lady Justice almost complete

Oakland County’s oldest employee is getting ready to come back from disability.

This employee is the historic Lady Justice
statue in downtown Pontiac. The disability is more than a century of
wear and tear that caused the sculpture to begin crumbling last year.
But a winter’s worth of restoration is expected to bring the statue
back to a place of prominence by May.

“She is truly a symbol of
Oakland County government,” says Steven Sanford, an Oakland County
project coordinator for facilities engineering. “We think it was
important to preserve that symbol of justice in Oakland County
government.”

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.

Lady Justice continued her vigil there until
last year, when a storm tore loose her scales and cracked her arm. She
was taken to the Fine Arts Sculpture Center
in Clarkston to undergo a $40,900 restoration. A century of life
deteriorated her pressed zinc frame to the point that it must now be
taken away from the harsh Michigan elements.

“She’s just too fragile to be outside in the elements anymore,” Sanford says.

He
expects she will be put inside the courthouse. A new bronze copy of the
statue will replace Lady Justice at the courthouse’s south plaza. Both
statues are expected to be installed in early May.

Restoration efforts will be directed by the County’s Department of Facilities Management and supported in part by donations from the legal community with assistance from the Oakland County Bar Association.  You are welcome to participate, too.

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