Johnson Roofing project manager Mike Anderson on his way up to survey progress on the removal of the statue that tops the McLennan County Courthouse
WACO (March 26, 2011)—After 109 years standing on top of the McLennan County Courthouse, "Themis" the Greek goddess of justice, was separated from her perch and was on the way to the ground Saturday morning.
“She’s in bad shape,” said Mike Anderson, project manager for Johnson Roofing, the contractor that is in the midst of repairing the courthouse roof.
Anderson has birthright to the job in that his grandfather and father worked on the same roof in 1953 when they repaired the statue and other portions of the roof after it was damaged by the 1953 Waco tornado.
Just after 10 a.m. the statue and the pedestal she stands on were separated from the courthouse dome and workmen were in the midst of securing her for the 100-plus foot trip to the ground.
Anderson said she’ll be trucked to the Johnson Roofing shop where she’ll be repaired and updated over a three-month process.
We’ll fix her broken arm and replace the missing sword,” Anderson said. “She also has a (basketball-sized) hole in her head from hail storms and weather.”
Anderson said the goddess weighs about 2,300 pounds but the scaffolding erected around her to ensure her safety add a great deal to the weight.
A large crane parked in the courthouse alley will be used to bring her down and place her on a trailer for her trip to the shop.
The statue is hollow, made of thin plates of zinc.
Most of her weight is in the wooden base she rests on, which Anderson said is mostly rotted away.
“There are places in the base you can stick your finger through,” he said.
The larger dome is virtually stripped of its ornate decorations and it will be repaired in place, Anderson said.