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Historic Courthouse gets facelift

This month the Washington County Historic Courthouse in Stillwater is receiving an upgrade to its floor tiles, replacement of broken tiles in the halls of the building, currently used for rental offices, community meetings and rental space for weddings and other celebrations.

The restoration projects are paid for, not with county tax levy money, but with money raised by fundraisers conducted at the courthouse, including the Victorian Christmas at the Historic Courthouse and the annual Stillwater Bridal Affair. These funds are used as a match for a capital grants from the Minnesota Historical Society.

To maintain the historical context of the building, historical architect Natascha Wiener from the Minnesota Historical Society advised the staff on the project, encouraging them to keep as many of the original tiles as possible.

Architects for the project placed an order to a company in Trent, England, that produced the original tiles in the building. why the original tiles were purchased from the company, still doing business as William May & Co. Exactly, is unknown, said Carolyn Phelps, parks coordinator at the Historic Courthouse.

Phelps said it may be the desire of the builders to lend an air of elegance and sophistication to the new courthouse when it was built in 1869.

For more information on the Washington County Historical Courthouse in Stillwater go to www.co.washington.mn.us and click on the "historic courthouse" link.

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