Old City Council Chambers Brought Back to Life

By Eric Olson

January 27, 2011 Updated Jan 27, 2011 at 2:52 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Indiana (Indiana's NewsCenter)--Before the Renaissance Square controversy, even before the City County building…this was the seat of power in Fort Wayne…old city hall. From 1893 to 1971 city business was conducted in this neo classical behemoth. City council debated our town’s future in the once magnificent council chambers…a room that over the past eight years…has been reborn.

Todd: History Center staff comes in to this room almost every day and literally every time we come in we’re still fascinated by the incredible beauty of the room.

Eight years and 250-thousand dollars have restored old city council chambers to its turn of the last century appearance. The way it looked in 1900 when the opulent stenciling and gold leaf were first applied…giving this the appearance of a room in Versailles. Coal heating ruined the original work…in 1915 the first of several mass paintovers occurred. Part of restoring this room included detective work. Experts scraping paint chips to reveal original colors and stencil designs that were then recreated on the walls.

Todd: It’s great to see this project finally completed and return to the splendor that it was originally. And the gold leaf itself is one of the most remarkable parts of the room, it’s literally some of the finest gold leaf one will find anywhere in the room.

The History Center will rent out this room for banquets and meetings and other events…there’s even talk of city council convening some meetings here in the future…not one a regular basis, just often enough to show them how their predecessors lived. when budget cuts and scraping by weren’t even imagined yet. Eric Olson, out in Your Country.

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