The nearly renovated City-County Building is now firmly etched in history.
Salt Lake Mayor Palmer DePaulis struck the first commemorative coin - etched with the likeness of the 95-year-old structure - at a Morgan foundry Thursday, marking the building's reopening next month.Work is nearly complete on the more than two-year, $30 million renovation project, and the mayor is preparing for a grand reopening ceremony April 28.
"I've been intrigued with every detail of this whole project," DePaulis said of his desire to visit the Hall Brothers Foundry in Morgan to cast the building's image in a full troy ounce of silver.
"I've been really eager to be involved, right down to every little detail, he said. Casting the coins in Morgan gives other parts of Utah, not just its capital city, "a chance to be a part of the building," he said.
"And besides, it's fun. I get a big kick out of it, too," he grinned.
The coins - 1,000 to be struck in copper and a select few cast in silver - are sponsored by the Utah Numismatic Society, a coin-collecting group, as part of its yearly commemorative coin series.
"We chose the City-County Building this year because it's being restored, said L.D. Thomason, medals chairman for the society.
The Hall brothers - Larry, Jed and Evan - are responsible for crafting the coins. Larry and Jed built and designed the coin press DePaulis used to strike the coin while Evan, a sculptor, hand-carved the coin's design.
"This just started out as kind of a hobby," Jed said. Otherwise, Jed and Larry operate a plastic injection molding company, making plastic implements used in hang gliders and elsewhere.
"I just like making stuff. Larry's kind of the engineer and I do the machine work. He designs it and he tells me what to do," he said.
Before DePaulis pressed the first coin, Larry walked the mayor through the coin-making process, explaining that first, Evan carved a 10-inch diameter image of the building.
Evan, who is a professional photographer, said the sculpting took him two weeks of painstaking work.
An engraving machine retraces a positive image of the building on a cast the size of the coin to be produced, Larry told the mayor.
DePaulis had the honor of operating the machine to press the first coin on a blank silver piece. The coin shows the building's 1894 completion date and its 1989 reopening date.
When the Hall brothers aren't entertaining mayors inside their immaculate workshop, they continue their plastics business and their minting operation, selling coins at shows and minting them on commission.
"We're trying to make a little money at it," Larry said, "at least enough to pay for the press."