History of the Bell & Clock in the Court House

Buck Eye Bell Foundry 1899

In 1899 the Washington County Court House underwent extensive remodeling. The purchase of a new brass bell and a Seth-Thomas clock for the tower was included in the project. The clock, run by weights, had to be rewound by hand; it was eventually electrified. The large brass bell was located on the floor beneath the clock. The wheel located on the side of the bell was drawn by a rope that dropped several stories below. The bell served a dual purpose of striking the time and sounding fire alarms. After one hundred sixteen years, the inscription on the bell is still legible. It reads:

Commissioners Roads and Revenues: Wiley Harris, chairman, B.C. Harris, SG. Taylor. M. Newman, Ordinary and Secretary to the Commissioners. Building Committee: M. Newman, Chairman, B.C. Harris, C.D. Thigpen. Architect: Lewis F. Goodrich, Augusta, Ga.
Contractors: John H. McKenzie and Son. AD 1899

Additional information of interest:

The clock underwent cleaning and restoration in 1975. One hundred bolts in the hands of the clock and gear time shaft mechanism were replaced. The bolts were made of wood.

The clock was installed in August 1899 and Dublin, GA. Jeweler, Mr. WJ. Wright was employed to install the clock ("put up"- stated in Progress) and to regulate it. The eagle was put on the tallest dome of the courthouse. The Progress stated, "the eagle has been perched upon the tallest dome of the courthouse".

Description of the clock: The dials were white and the figures and hands were gilt. The dials were supposed to have been black. The writer of the article in the Progress in 1899 stated: "the contrast is not sufficiently great to make a difference, but as it conforms to the specifications of Architect Goodrich, it will not be changed at the present at least." The writer stated the clock had a musical sound and it was said the strikes on the bell could be heard a distance of 3 miles.

Research by: Mary Murphy, 2015

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