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Can’t pop the top

As part of the major renovation of the historic Jackson County Courthouse, workers from Brantley Construction were set to remove the building’s signature dome last Friday. But three separate attempts to lift it off by crane failed.

The wood inside the dome has been compromised by rot, and Brantley’s carpenters are ready to restore it. But they need to be able to reach it first.

The removal process began at 10 a.m. on Friday morning, and the crews expected to have the dome off before lunch. But the project’s manager, David Cates, stressed all along that there was no exact schedule for getting the dome down.

Interested citizens, photographers and well-wishers gathered throughout the day to watch the momentous occasion, but in the end, the old dome proved stubborn.

The removal process entailed installing a steel frame around the dome to support its weight. The frame was hooked to a crane that could lift it free from the main structure of the Courthouse.

Before that could be done, work crews had to remove the bolts that held the dome to the courthouse roof then cut it all the way free with saws.

According to the Friends of the Jackson County Main Library, the project’s manager determined a heavier crane was needed for the job, and the attempts were abandoned around 5 p.m.

The removal will be re-attempted when the new crane is in place.

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