Magistrates back up

Chris Cooper Managing Editor

November 14, 2013

Magistrate Thomas Bouldin chimed in at the end of Tuesday’s Fiscal Court meeting, saying he’d had “a change of heart” concerning the old clock that sets inside the cupola of the historic Logan County Courthouse.

Bouldin wasn’t fond of the idea of fixing the clock at a previous meeting, when he and fellow magistrates were told the timepiece was in need of repair or possibly replacing. The clock recently stopped chiming on the hour as it has for decades.

Soon after the court decided unofficially to bypass repair, some citizens began showing their support for spending the money, even going as far as pledging to donate funds for repair. Some citizens challenged local businesses and industry with helping keep the clock going.

In all fairness, magistrates were stunned by the $18,000 quote for replacement, and didn’t know if spending that on the clock would be what the taxpayers would want.

“I had said I was against it, but I am for looking into repair now,” said Bouldin.

Magistrate Russell Poore agreed with Bouldin saying he felt the county needed to at least investigate the issue, and if it was not too expensive, get the clock fixed.

According to Thomas E. Hovey, product manager of The Verdin Company, who maintains the clock, his technicians found the bell strikers’ solenoid coil had been burned, and the tower clocks three hours behind. According to Hovey, these items have been reported before.

Verdin installed the equipment in 1973, however, the clock has been on the courthouse way before that.

Local historian Ed Coffman, who is 91-years-old, says he can remember climbing into the clock when he was 14, and etched his name on all four clock faces. That would put the clocks presence back to 1936.

According to a technician working for The Verdin Company, the clock’s strikers are not the only problem. The equipment is worn out as well, and should be replaced, or the time will continue to drift off of the correct time.

Hovey gave two proposals to the court. The first includes a replacement solenoid and new digital bell and clock controller. This will replace the electro-mechanical master clock with a more accurate clock, plus it has the correct daylight savings time adjustment and is easier to operate. The price for this, delivered and installed in $5,780.

The second proposal includes for new replacement clock movements for the four faced tower clock. This modern movement uses a minute-impulse timepiece drive and is more accurate than the old synchronous drive currently in use. The price for this is $11,795. There is some savings, said Hovey, if the court agrees that both proposals be completed together, so the price would be $17,100. Just replacing the strike solenoid, which makes the clock chime, would be $1,335.

Judge Executive Logan Chick said he was going to have Verdin representatives come down and talk with him more about the county’s options on the clock. He said before hand though he planned to climb up into the cupola and look at the clock himself.