Luzerne County Courthouse Restoration Earns the Preservation Pennsylvania 2022 Local Government Leadership Award

John Canning & Co.'s Luzerne County Courthouse restoration project earned the 2022 Local Government Leadership Award from Preservation Pennsylvania.

Cheshire, CT, November 07, 2022 --( John Canning & Co.’s Luzerne County Courthouse restoration project has earned the 2022 Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Local Government Leadership Award from Preservation Pennsylvania for the comprehensive restoration work completed at the Luzerne County Courthouse in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

This award is a great honor for the team, and John Canning & Co. is fortunate to have worked with Luzerne County, and A+E Group to complete this project. A great team is key to the success of these types of projects, and it is evident from the other two awards that this project has also received - The 2018 Trumbauer Award from the Philadelphia ICAA Chapter and the 2019 Traditional Building Palladio Award for Craftsmanship - that this was, in fact, a great team.

The Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Awards are hosted by Preservation Pennsylvania and celebrate excellence in construction, leadership, local preservation, and lifetime achievements in the field of preservation. Pennsylvania’s Historic Preservation Awards began in 1979 and continue to be celebrated annually to recognize significant contributions in the field of historic preservation made by both organizations and individuals in the recent year.

Preservation Pennsylvania is the only private statewide nonprofit organization in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The organization is dedicated to helping people protect and preserve the historic places that matter to them and the community. The organization was founded by the Commonwealth’s General Assembly in 1982 as the Preservation Fund of Pennsylvania, a statewide revolving fund to assist in the acquisition and rehabilitation of historic properties. Since its creation, Preservation Pennsylvania has grown into its modern role as a private, nonprofit organization with the mission to protect and preserve the state’s historic places.

Set on the Susquehanna River in Wilkes-Barre, the Luzerne County Courthouse, designed by architect F.J. Osterling, was originally built and opened to the public in 1909. Decades of water damage, mold, mildew, and incompatible localized attempts at repairs had impacted much of the historic fabric of the Luzerne County Courthouse, making the preservation of the finishes a high priority. The restoration was completed in phases, ensuring that all steps were taken to document, research, and restore the courthouse while maintaining the integrity of the space.

The project consisted of a full-scale restoration of the decorative finishes throughout the rotunda proper and third-floor corridors. Over the course of the project, 125 murals were assessed, documented, and conserved, and deteriorated areas of flat and ornamental plaster moldings were restored using the same plaster materials as the originals. The historical color palette was reinstated, using colors related to the botticino and white marbles used throughout the courthouse. These marbles were also conservation cleaned and restored, and bronze torchieres, railings, and ornamental metal features throughout the space were conserved and cleaned to reestablish their original finish.

The project was completed on time and within budget—including work not in the original scope. It took place in an active courthouse over a six-month period without closing or delaying any of the day-to-day operations of the courthouse. The successful interior restoration project for this historic National Landmark in Luzerne County is the perfect example of how all histories (time, place, people- then and now) affect Canning’s ability to deliver accurate, quality work. The restoration project revealed details lost to time and brought the decorative features and exceptional art back to their original appearances for all to enjoy and continues to preserve architectural, classical tradition, and cultural heritage, honoring the past and carrying it forward for future generations. John Canning & Co. was proud to be able to use the full scope of their capabilities and expertise on this preservation project and achieve the outstanding beautiful results which have made this building once again a gift to the community to enjoy as it was the day the building was finished in 1906.

Located in Cheshire, Connecticut, John Canning & Co., is one of the nation’s experts in historic restoration, conservation, and preservation. John Canning & Co. offers services in a variety of areas including conservation, planning, designing, historic paint analysis, plaster condition surveys, restoration, decorative finishes and painting, budgeting, and consulting. With over 45 years of experience, John Canning & Co. has received numerous awards and has been entrusted to restore state capitols, courthouses, churches, libraries, museums, theatres, educational establishments, and other historic buildings.
John Canning & Co.
Yvette Dudac