Written by Beth Exley
Some stories from small town history are more entertaining than others. Such is the case from 1981 and the restoration project of the “Lady of Justice” atop the Clarion County Courthouse. On July 23, 1981 the “Lady of Justice” came down from her pedestal. This was quite an attraction to the area residents. KDKA-TV crews from Pittsburgh were on the scene filming the descent of the Lady. At approximately 3:30 pm, she was removed from her position by pulley. Scaffolding was erected around her prior to her removal. Three workmen carefully guided her down to the main roof and then lowered her. Prior to this, the crew did not know how much she weighed.
Upon examination, she was quite deteriorated. Her left arm, the arm that held the “scales of justice”, was missing. Rumor has it that a small airplane hit her arm and scales a few years prior causing the statue considerable damage. There were approximately 25 bullet holes in the statue, and she was quite weathered. When measured, she stood 9 feet, 11 inches tall and her approximate weight was estimated to be 125 pounds.
It has not been determined who designed this statue, which is hollow or by what method she was originally placed atop the Clarion County Courthouse is also not know. It is likely the identical figure produced from the same mold was used at other courthouses, as she is a fitting guardian for a hall of justice and a government seat.
The “Lady” was then placed in a small van and taken to the firm of Ranochak & Company located in Shelbyville, Indiana. There she was restored with the fiberglass coating shaded in the pewter color. She now weighs approximately 250 pounds.
A ceremony took place on August 24, 1981 for her return trip to her pedestal at which time a time capsule was inserted in the base of the statue.
Commissioner Elmer A. Barkay was the person in charge of the overall project.
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