Tarrant County Courthouse to Get Some Work Done

Fort Worth landmark to get $5 million facelift

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    The Tarrant County Courthouse clock tower is getting its long-awaited makeover.

    The Tarrant County Courthouse clock tower will get its long-awaited makeover later this year.

    The North Texas landmark has about $5 million worth of work coming its way.

    “It certainly needs a restoration now, because we’re concerned about its future, we’re concerned about the clock tower itself and its viability to stay together in one piece,” said David Phillips, management director of Tarrant County’s facilities.

    County commissioners had approved a $2 million renovation last summer after a heavy piece of metal from the clock tower fell onto a lower roof.

    Tarrant County Courthouse Makeover

    [DFW] Tarrant County Courthouse Makeover
    The Tarrant County Courthouse will soon get about $5 million dollars worth of work.

    But an architect found more problems with the building after the project was approved, and the facelift morphed into a $5 million, 18-month project, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

    The courthouse, which is on a hill overlooking North Main Street and the historic Stockyards district, was built in the early 1890s.

    “It's definitely the jewel of our county and Fort Worth,” Phillips said.

    Almost everything in the building is original, but time has taken its toll. The copper dome, which replaced the original shingle roof in the 1920s, is riddled with holes.

    The clock tower will get new framing and a new roof.

    The clock faces also need new glass, and water has damaged masonry mortar and floor and step planks, the Star-Telegram reported.

    “(We’re) having some failure with the limestone-based mortar ... used in the 1800s,” Phillips said. “It was a very good product, however, I don't think it was meant to be washed out with rainwater every time it rains.”

    The bell will also be refurbished.

    “We have to lift the bell up,” Phillips said. “We're going to put a new isolation device on it, because when the bell goes off it shakes the floor.”

    And the clock could get a modern touch. The motor put in during the 1940s still works, but Phillips said the clock might get updated with digital technology.

    “Sometimes it does give us fits and breaks down now and then, but it's 70 years old, and it gets a little tired,” he said.

    Phillips told the Star-Telegram he hopes work can begin in August. The county will start taking bids within the next few months.

    NBC DFW’s Susy Solis and Scott Gordon contributed to this report.

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