Courthouse clock gets needed repairs
It's about time!

Beth Rumsey
Stafff Writer

The clock face at the Ripley County Courthouse is getting some much needed repairs thanks to the cooperation of the Ripley County Commissioners and the Town of Versailles.

In his book, Tales of Versailles, Alan Smith gave an account of how the clock was donated to the town.

The estate of Florence Grether purchased the clock in 1932 as a memorial to her late husband, Charles. The clock was purchased from the I.T. Verdin Machine Company in Cincinnati at a cost of $8,400. It consisted of three electric motors that operated the clock: one for the clock proper, one for the chimes and one for the striking mechanism.
The gift required the purchase of a tower that was constructed by Walter Rump of Dillsboro in June 1932.

The need to repair the clock became apparent several years ago after a heavy rain. It was determined that the rainwater had entered through the clock face and caused severe water damage to the prosecutor’s offices on the third floor.

There was also significant damage to the wooden tower supports due to the weather. Efforts to make the repairs to the tower have been made and will continue to be addressed during the restoration project.

Smith’s Bell and Clock Service has been chosen to complete the repairs. According to owner J.J. Smith, he and his crew have worked on the clocks in the courthouses of surrounding counties.

According to Smith, two of the clock faces will be disassembled and repairs made to the structures holding the glass. This process will take about 4-6 weeks.

The restoration will include the clock face only and not the chimes. Smith noted that his company made repairs to the mechanism in 2009.

“The clock is unique because there are five bells and ring the Westminster chimes,” said Smith.

The total cost of the project is $12,009. The two entities (commissioners and the Town of Versailles) agreed that each would pay half of the balance after the application of a $3,500 grant the town received from the Tyson Fund.