What time is it?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The brick courthouse that stood in the court square featured two towers. One housed a clock with four faces, the other a bell tower. The bell from the bell tower was salvaged from a local junk yard by Harris Speller Moates. During our sesquicentennial year he and his wife donated the bell to the County. It is enshrined on the lawn of the present court house. Back in the days of the brick courthouse the clock was a central time piece. Farmers went to work by the toll of the bell. Businesses opened and closed following the chime of the bell. Some referred to the clock as a “poor man’s time” because they probably did not have a watch to check the time.

When the present courthouse was completed about 1918, it featured a clock in the front gable of the building. It was much smaller than the clock in the brick courthouse and it also required winding on a regular schedule. Some have suggested the clock was actually an after thought and not in the original plans. A. H. “Bertie” Robinson was in charge of winding the clock and he did so faithfully over many years.

During my lifetime I cannot recall seeing the clock when it was in working order. I know it was broken for many years, yet it remained in place in the gable. Somehow, it was at one time removed with the view in mind of getting it repaired. Today the place the clock occupied is vacant and only its glass face is in place.

Our town looks better now than it has at any other time, in my opinion. Our leaders are to be commended for their efforts to bring it to its present condition. I hope there will be some way we can get a clock reinstalled in the gable of the present courthouse. I realize it would be almost too small to read the time but it would fill a void. A larger clock might be put outside overlaying the original opening but that would require some adaptation. There would not be any bell to chime the time so all could hear. The clock might be too small to be able to tell time but a clock would be there for all to see and the courthouse would not be only partially dressed.

There is another historic clock on Court Square. This clock is on the corner of the First National Bank building and not in working order. This clock was placed on the building shortly after the old Commercial Bank began operations in that building. It is a beautiful clock and a duplicate is seen on other buildings in many cities across this nation. Placing this clock back in operation may be out of the question but hopefully we can try and see if it can be restored. I believe the city has control of the building and perhaps they will do all necessary to get it back operational.

You may feel as I do and if so mention the clock to your councilman and your commissioner and maybe that will give us a clock to complete the picture

G. Sidney Waits