By Robert Spangler

The Benton County Historical Preservation Commission has established a Courthouse Clock Restoration Task Force. Since December, 2013, this task force has been exploring the restoration of the Courthouse clock. Proposals were requested and three proposals we're received from clocksmiths beginning in early January, 2014. The proposals would restore the 1905 clock to its original operation, including the ringing of the bell each hour. The task force is hoping to secure the necessary funds through several grant opportunities and through private donations. The three proposals received to date have estimated the restoration to cost between $45,996.00 and $50,660.00. The grant process could cover as much as $32,000.00 or about two-thirds of the total cost, leaving the task force to raise the remaining one-third of the cost. However, there is no guarantee the task force would receive funds this year during the grant process. Any grant funding would not be known until early July, 2014.

The clock itself has not operated since 2008. However, the bell has not rung the hours since the early to mid 1980’s. The original clockworks were mechanical, meaning the clock had to be wound manually every week. Sometime after the 1960’s the clock was electrified, meaning the mechanical operation was removed and an electric motor was put in its place, to make the clock operate. According to the three clocksmiths, this process greatly reduced the life of the clock.

While the task force is attempting to secure grant funds for this restoration, the grant funding may not be available this year. Any donations made could speed up the restoration project. Once the funds are available the clocksmith could have the project completed in as little as twelve weeks.

If you would like to help with the project by making a donation, please send your donation to:

Courthouse Clock Restoration, P.O. Box 26, Vinton, IA 52349. Progress reports will be made regularly as donation funds begin to come in.

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