clock gets needed repairs
It's about time!
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
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 prosecutors
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.
Smiths 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.