Treasured Statue Lasting Symbol Of Justice, Protection Of Rights

From Potter County Today

justiceladytwoAn attractive new sign now greets visitors to the Potter County Courthouse, explaining the significance of the historic and impressive Statue of Justice that graces the front lobby. The Potter County Commissioners contracted with Ampersand Ink, a Coudersport business, to produce a sign that complements the shiny, restored statue.

“Several years have passed since a local committee, headed by Shirlee Leete, was able to rescue our treasured statue, restore it, and place it in a location for all to see,” the commissioners said. “Jon Blumer at Ampersand Ink took a personal interest in creating a permanent sign that was tasteful and fitting to this treasured artifact and symbol.”

The statue is a symbol of justice, protection of rights and eternal vigilance. On Oct. 25, 1888, the Statue of Justice made her 128-foot journey to the top of the Potter County Courthouse, part of a renovation that also included a new roof – all completed at a cost to the county of $1,450. The statue itself has been appraised in more recent years at more than $250,000. It is one of a select few statues of justice in which the woman holding the scales is not blindfolded.

The Greco-Roman neoclassical body was carved from a block of wood and overlaid with handcrafted zinc panels through “knocking” – the hammering of the metal into the carved sections of wood. She is adorned with an olive branch crown, her right hand holding the hilt of a Roman sword, symbolizing an ability to execute justice. Her bare feet shown beneath her gown send a message that nothing can become between justice and the land.

A century-plus of exposure to the elements resulted in significant damage to the Statue of Justice. In the 1990s, a committee was formed to raise funds for the repair of the historic statue and its replacement with a replica that now stands atop the courthouse – which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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