Truly Supreme (III)

IMG_3059The Ohio Departments Building was built in 1933, during the depths of the Great Depression.  Many public buildings — typically referred to as WPA (for Works Progress Administration) buildings, whether they in fact were built by the WPA or by one of the other alphabet agencies of the New Deal — were constructed during that time period.  They all have a certain charm and beauty that modern office buildings don’t even try to equal.

I don’t know if this is true about the Ohio Departments Building (later renamed the Ohio Judicial Center) where the Ohio Supreme Court now sits, but I’ve always thought that the WPA buildings were beautiful because countless masons, artists, woodworkers, and other skilled craftsmen were thrown out of work by the Great Depression and were eager to do just about anything that would bring them a paycheck.  Whether my theory is true or not, the Ohio Departments Building is a collection of excellent paintings, splendid wood work, detailed metal fabrication, and colorful tile creations that certainly look like they were the work of masters.  The rear doorway of the Ohio Supreme Court courtroom, shown above, brings many of those art forms together, with the lovely painting of a colonial scene, a fabulous carved wooden wooden clock about the doorway, and fine, gleaming, metal inlaid into the woodwork.  (The Latin phrase below the clock and above the doorway is dum loquor, hora fugit — roughly translated as “while I am speaking, time is fleeing.”  It’s a good reminder for loquacious lawyers.)

The outside of the building, with its clean, bright lines, includes some carved cats and the quasi-Egyptian figure shown below, as well as the customary tribute to the value of labor — a common feature in Depression-era buildings.

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