Franklin County Courthouse

Hampton, IA

Built in 1890, the Franklin County Courthouse and its clock tower have long been a source of pride for county residents and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

Work Included

  • Complete restoration of roofing and architectural sheet metal
  • Carpentry
  • Materials including copper and metal


Due to inferior techniques employed by the original contractor (using steel nails to attach the terne metal overlay), the external elegance of the clock tower belied the weather-related damage caused to the structure. In 2004, Renaissance was chosen for the restoration project, based on their national reputation for preservation of historic structures.



Renaissance subcontracted with a carpentry firm that eventually replaced 400 linear feet of timber framing, which took six months and 6,000 man hours.

Renaissance spent over four weeks photo- documenting, dismantling, labeling, and cataloguing the more than 1,700 individually stamped sheet metal parts prior to shipping them to their sheet metal shop in Belvidere, Illinois.

After thorough study, Renaissance replaced 100% of the original sheet metal, turning out 10,000 square feet of Follansbe Steel's Terne Coated Stainless Steel Tow (TSCII), which was the material specified by the project's architects. With the in-shop fabrication complete, the Renaissance crew returned to Franklin County in November 2005 for installation. Crews began by

putting base metal on the substructure, but, instead of using steel nails like the original contractor, Renaissance installed interlocking panels with a hidden cleat joint and hand-soldered the seams, creating a waterproof seal over the wood. 

Once the base metal was locked down, crews added the ornamentation, repaired the copper statues, and replaced the copper dome. They also cleaned, repaired, and reworked the clock's face, hands, numbers, and marks. In all, Renaissance fully replaced all of the clock tower's architectural sheet metal, nearly all of the timber framing, and replaced five flat roof systems on the building.


On-site installation was completed in December 2006 and crews returned in March 2007 to put the finishing touches on the job. This included painting the steel to match the courthouse, and replacing the statue that resides at the top of the tower, where it will sit for another 100 years.