County Commission disagrees over posting old photo of Lady Justice in public place.

Perched high atop the Marion County Courthouse in Palmyra stands a statue of Lady Justice. The fact the statue’s right breast is bare is likely of little concern to the people passing far below it. But would the exposed bosom create a public stir if a closeup photo of her were hung in a public place within the courthouse?

That discussion took place during the March 13 meeting of the County Commission in Palmyra after Teya Stice, county coordinator, shared a handful of closeup photos of the statue taken either during its installation or during some maintenance atop the building. It is estimated the photos were snapped in the early 1900s.

The photos were donated to the county by Andrew Salsman, who reportedly uncovered them recently while sorting through family archives. Included in some of the images is a man who is believed to be Salsman’s great-uncle.

Noting the historic value of the photos, Stice advised that she was considering having the photos framed and then putting them on display within the county’s Palmyra courthouse.

Presiding Commissioner Lyndon Bode expressed reservations about hanging the photos in public view, suggesting the bare breast might be offensive to some courthouse visitors.

Steve Begley, Western District commissioner, said he had “no problem” with displaying all the photos within the courthouse.

Larry Welch, Eastern District commissioner, indicated that he could see where the photos “could offend” some viewers, adding that seeing the images in a public place wouldn’t bother him.

It was suggested that public sentiment should determine whether or not to display the photos in a public area of the courthouse. However, none of the county officials present wanted to be designated the contact person to receive the public comment.

At least some of the images may yet wind up in the courthouse. Both Stice and County Clerk Valerie Dornberger expressed interest in hanging statue photos in their respective offices.

According to www.showmepalmyra.com, the Lady Justice statue atop the courthouse is one of the few statues of its type that depicts her without a blindfold.

Reach reporter Danny Henley at danny.henley@courierpost.com