Eau Claire (WQOW) – Eau Claire City Hall is finally opening its doors to the community after a $5 million renovation.
The year-long project aimed to pay tribute to the building’s original designer.
City Hall held a lot of history within its walls, but the past was covered up by modern renovations. Now the beauty built in 1916 by Eau Claire native George Awesumb (pronounced “awesome”) can shine once again.
“Everything that was restored here turned out like we had hoped,” said city engineer Dave Solberg. “A lot of the items turned out better than we had hoped.”
Renovations began last July, and while they uncovered some of the history, they all had one big question. Here’s a hint: you’d know this one if you watch HGTV. “Why would you cover up good marble floor and hardwood floors?”
“Different eras had different focuses on what was important. We like to take a nod back to history and restore what we had originally,” Solberg said. That effort began with the floors. “We’re just grateful that in most of the building the original flooring was left in place so we did have something to work with,” Solberg said.
The flooring isn’t the only part of the restoration that officials are excited about. Linda McCracken-Hunt, an architect whose company worked on the remodeling, said she was impressed with the sky lights. “There are so many wonderful spaces in the building,” McCracken- Hunt said. “I think all of the old sky lights that have been restored just turned out wonderfully too.”
City Hall is now rich with its old history, and Solberg said he thinks it pays good tribute to the architect who stared it all.
“The goal at the time was to have something grand here, befitting of the people,” Solberg said. “It was designed off of a palace on the campus of Versailles that Marie Antoinette lived in, so we certainly think he hit the mark 100 years ago and we’re very proud of how it is today.”
Solberg said they hope to have all city officials moved back in the day after Labor Day.