POMEROY — During the painting of the Meigs Courthouse exterior, an appraisal is being conducted on the structure itself.
John Barnette, of HCA Asset Management, was on-site Thursday gathering information for his evaluation. With a degree in engineering, he said he moved to appraisals when he joined the company and finds the work interesting.
“Appraising a historic structure can be challenging,” he said. “There is a lot of research that goes into the work. I learn a lot about the building and its history as a result. It’s fun to hear the stories, and many times I can gather information about the structure itself.”
Traveling around the United States, Barnette said he has been in 45 states so far and has encountered many unique older structures. He added that he enjoys the character, style of architecture, and story of each one.
One drawback to appraising historic structures can be a lack of records, so oral histories play an important role in determining many aspects of the building. Unlike modern structures, the blueprints for the original structure, as well as additions, haven’t always survived.
When asked if there were things he found in historic buildings that were absent in newer ones, Barnette pointed to the bell tower atop the courthouse.
“You don’t see those on any of the new courthouses,” he said, “and the exterior walls are made of three-course brick (which means three layers of brick). You will never see that again.”
Barnette also said the building has the original flooring, which at the time was usually made from small plank-type wood, giving extra integrity to the structure.
In addition to buildings, Barnette has also appraised covered bridges and museums. He has encountered many unusual older structures, too.
“One of the most interesting was the first governor’s mansion in San Antonio, Texas,” Barnette said. “It was an adobe structure, not what usually comes to mind when you say ‘governor’s mansion.’ Another was in Kansas; that one was a mud building. It was a reproduction of an original house. That one was certainly different.”
Barnette said HCA has appraised more than 60 courthouses in Ohio — most of them historic — as well as numerous other structures.
So what was his estimate on the building? The report will need more research to be completed.
“A lot of what I do is on the ‘back end,’” Barnette said. “I usually have to see the building or structure before I can begin my research. The process takes a while.”
Contact Lorna Hart at 740-992-2155, Ext. 2551.
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