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Courthouse bell down for renovations available for viewing

By: Jenna Nielsen, Journal Staff Writer
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Residents can get a rare up-close glimpse of the Historic Courthouse bell over the next few months. Workers removed the bell from the courthouse dome early Saturday morning in order to conduct repairs on the top of the building. The 300-pound steel bell will remain on display near the entrance of the Historic Courthouse mu-seum, which will remain open during the building renovations. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see piece of history up close,” said Melanie Barton, Placer County museums administrator. According to Journal archive stories, the bell became part of the city and judicial system when it was purchased in October 1859. When the present courthouse was completed in the early 1890s, the bell took its place beneath the copper dome to ring out its summons. The $1-million-plus renovation on the 109-year-old courthouse is set to take place over the next several months. While the court sections of the courthouse will be closed, the Placer County museum and gift shop will remain open. Courts are expected to resume within the next 90 days and will remain open while the rest of the repairs are completed, Barton said. Workers will re-seal and repaint the metal, roof and stone areas of the courthouse roof that have been identified as problem areas. Windows on the distinctive colonnade below the courthouse dome will also be replaced. The dome renovation is expected to take several months, Barton said. The bell will be put back once the dome is repaired, which is expected to be within the next few months. “There has been a lot of concern and talk with what is going on at the courthouse,” Barton said. “But is a really short period of time the courts are not going to be in the building — and they’ll be back.” To see the bell, you can visit the Courthouse museum during its regular hours, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. There is no admission charge. The Journal’s Jenna Nielsen can be reached at jennan@goldcountrymedia.com or post a comment.