Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Clock Striker Crashes Through Courthouse Ceilling 1935

Lawrence County News
April 18, 1935

Following the example of the famous clock which stopped, never to go again when Grandfather died, the clock in the courthouse dome ceased to function Friday morning when the cable supporting the striking weight broke.  The heavy iron weights crashed through two ceilings and landed in the rear of the Bar of Justice in the Circuit Court Room. 

The crash aroused the occupants of the various offices and speculation as to the cause of the noise was rife. A few minutes later, the cries of Ben Conover, janitor, attracted attention and he was found marooned in the belfry with no way of getting back to earth. A ladder was secured and Ben was rescued from his perilous position.

Mr. Conover had been on a tour of the Court House with Sheriff Bale and had climbed the stairway leading to the belfry to wind the clock. He made a couple turns with the windlass when the cable broke and the belfry was filled with dust to almost the suffocating point. 

The weights, thirteen in number, together with the cable, weigh in the neighborhood of seven hundred pounds and they crashed through the ceiling directly under the belfry, struck a heavy joist which was torn loose and struck the steel ceiling of the consultation room in the rear of the court room. The stairway leading to the belfry was demolished and several lengths of metal ceiling were torn from their moorings.

The clock started at 8:30 but has been stopped without the striker. It has been a source of expense ever since it was donated to the county by D.S. Porter about thirty years ago. The wire cable supporting the weights has never been replaced and the wear over a period of years that the clock has been running, finally weakened the strands until they parted. It was fortunate the consultation room was unoccupied when the weights fell.

( Ed. Note:  Please no lawyer jokes....)