Queens County Courthouse Project

On June 2 nd, 1999, the Region of Queens placed an advertisement in the Liverpool Advance requesting expressions of interest from contractors to "accurately restore" the Queens County Courthouse. It further stated that special consideration would be given to firms that had successfully completed historical restoration projects in the past.

On June 30 th, 1999, the Region of Queens began renovating the Queens County Courthouse. Over the next two weeks, all ornamental woodwork and exterior cladding, including shingles and the original facade boards, were removed and taken to the regional landfill. The detailed woodwork and cladding having been removed, the remaining features of historical significance were the large windows, and the four 145 year old columns on the building.

On July 15 th, an ad hoc citizens' group met with representatives of the municipality to discuss the project and express concern over the destructive nature of the exterior renovations, and the serious effect on the architectural and historical value of the building. The group hoped to work with the Region of Queens to see that the remaining features were preserved, and that materials, such as the wooden shingles on the sides of the building, were replaced. Please refer to the minutes of this meeting for more details.

The municipality took the Nova Scotia Department of Housing and Municipal Affairs up on their offer of free architectural services, and a representative of the municipality met with a consulting architect to discuss various features of the building. The architect advised the municipality that the four columns did not need to be removed. The Department of Housing and Municipal Affairs subsequently offered additional, free services to help with the preservation of the columns. No response was received from the municipality.

Ten days later, the mayor sent a brief letter to the citizens' group stating that the columns would be removed. This action completed the removal of all significant historical architectural features of the building.

As a last-ditch effort to preserve these items, the Mersey Heritage Society wrote a letter to the Region of Queens on July 29, 1999 to request that the wooden panels that make up the columns be turned over to the Society once they are removed. On August 17, 1999, municipal council voted to turn the items over to the Mersey Heritage Society on an "where-is, as-is" basis. On August 19, the Works Department kindly placed the windows in the basement of the municipal building for temporary storage. The windows were removed during the week of August 16, and the columns were removed during the week of September 13.

The items are now in temporary storage locations. If you can offer assistance with the storage or preservation of these items, or if you have ideas for their public reuse, please contact Craig Chandler at (902) 354-3166 or merseyhersoc@netscape.net.

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