McDonough County courtroom now looks a lot more like it might have when the courthouse was completed in 1872.
Courtroom 203 has a refinished oak floor, a new bench, and a new table top. All were custom made and handcrafted.
In addition, the paneling was removed from the walls and replaced with drywall and wainscoting.
“We were fortunate to have Mike Lester, who’s originally from Good Hope, who took on the job of basically crafting from hand all aspects of the wood that is in the courtroom and it’s phenomenal,” said Associate Judge Patricia Walton.
A large wooden county seal that was hand carved by an artisan from Ohio will also be added to the courtroom.
Walton said the room now has the proper decorum. The judge said it previously looked like a poorly maintained addition.
“I think sometimes that affects the people in the courtroom. They don’t feel it’s a dignified proceeding because of the surroundings that they’re in,” Walton said.
The remodeled courtroom also contains a few modern conveniences, such as updated technology. Walton said the room is functional while also fitting into the historic nature of the courthouse.
The project was paid for through Circuit Clerk Kim Wilson’s office.
Walton said Courtroom 202 was remodeled in 2000 and she hoped the main courtroom – Courtroom 201 – will eventually be restored as well.