Eastern Iowa officials hope to repair courthouse clock
VINTON (AP) — For six years, time has stopped at the Benton County Courthouse in Vinton.
Officials want to change that and are raising $50,000 needed to get the clock atop the historic courthouse ticking again. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported that time has been frozen on the clock at just before 12 since sometime in 2008.
The eastern Iowa county already is planning to spend $500,000 on new windows in the courthouse, which was completed in 1906. County Supervisor Terry Hertle said if the additional money can be raised, officials will fix the clock, too.
“We want to bring it back to being in pristine condition, like it was when it was new,” Hertle said.
“We are all kind of proud of our courthouse.”
The county has applied for grants from the state’s Historical Resource Development Program and the Benton County Community Foundation, which is funded with revenue from the Black Hawk County Gaming Association.
Robert Spangler, chairman of the Benton County Historical Preservation Commission, said officials hope the grants will cover about two-thirds of the cost. The rest would come from private donations.
“We want to try to do it without any taxpayer money,” Spangler said.
If the grants come through, Hertle said officials likely will need to restore the clock to its original condition. That could mean replacing an electric motor with a manual winder.
Before the clock was altered to have it powered by electricity in the 1960s, someone had to climb multiple staircases and finally a ladder to reach the clock tower, where they would wind the mechanism. After eight days, they would have to do it all over again.
“To get the grants, we have to put it back, or as close as possible to the original,” Hertle said.
Officials might be able to add an auto-winder and still meet historic requirements for the work, Hertle said.
The restoration would include other fixes to the clock, including replacing the hands on the clock’s four faces.
“Right now, the hands up there are wood. So, they have to come back as wood,” Spangler said.