LOUDON COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) – Loudon County leaders are taking a big step forward in their quest to restore an East Tennessee landmark. They’re making progress in bringing the historic courthouse back to life.
The building was ravaged by fire back in April. Firefighters battled the blaze for hours as spectators watched the courthouse burn.
Nearly seven months later, there is visible progress on the site.
WATE 6 On Your Side’s Elizabeth Kuebel talked with Loudon County mayor Buddy Bradshaw about what’s being done to restore the courthouse.
This week, they began the stabilization phase. That will make it safe for crews to get inside the building as they work toward refurbishing and reopening the courthouse.
“To actually have people on site, people working towards making it better, bringing her back, that means alot,” said Bradshaw. “They will actually attach some braces to the exterior walls, some to the interior walls, to make sure there’s no moving around or shifting. The roof will come off, we’ll actually demo the roof and have a temporary roof placed.”
The building has sat empty, surrounded by a fence, since it went up in flames back in April. It was a devastating scene to so many onlookers as thick smoke and fire poured out of the building.
“It represents our home, our hometown, our home county,” said Bo Carey, a Loudon County business owner. “It’s just very special that these walls can be maintained and that they represent so much history.”
Mayor Bradshaw says the overall goal is to make the courthouse look the way it did the night before the fire.
“This courthouse means so much to this community, this town, and this county, and I think that’s what everybody wants, and that’s going to be our goal, and I think we’ll be able to achieve it for the most part,” he said.
Bradshaw also wants people to show him any old pictures they may have inside the courthouse. That way they can make the new inside look as much like it did before the fire. The pictures can be dropped off at his office, located at 100 River Road.
The stabilization phase is expected to run until March or April. After that, they’ll be able to begin the refurbishing process.