Faga ’04 Researches Court House Architecture – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Faga ’04 Researches Court House Architecture

Louis Faga '04 got more than he bargained for in his internship with New York State Supreme Court Judge Robert Julian. Not only is he learning about the law, he's learning about the architecture of the Oneida County Court House. During renovation work, carpenter Tom Moon discovered, sealed under the current ceiling of the court house, a robins-egg blue coffered ceiling in the Supreme Court Part III jury courtroom. The ceiling renewed Julian's interest in the history of the court building, and he had his two college interns embark on a research project about it. The story was in the July 10 Utica Observer-Dispatch, in an article titled “Courthouse renovations reveal piece of past”.

Faga, of New Hartford, said the building was a symbol of progress for local residents during the area's turn-of-the-century heyday. In the 1950s, many of the exterior ornaments were removed because they had deteriorated, and the Elizabeth Street stairway was taken out, Faga said. Later, many of the interior spaces were carved to make room for the building's increased use, and ceilings were lowered to accommodate modern heating and electrical systems.

The uncovered ceiling is believed to be original to the 1910 building, which stands on the corner of Elizabeth and Charlotte streets in downtown Utica. It has been hidden from view by acoustical paneling since at least the 1960s.