August 30, 2007

Courthouse Clock Restoration Project Comes With Estimated $46,000 Price Tag

A famous watch company slogan goes “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking.” Unfortunately for Scotland County, the courthouse clock isn’t a Timex.

However efforts are underway to restore the historic timepiece and return one of the centerpieces of the Memphis city square to service.

“We want to have the clock in running condition again so our children, grandchildren and the generations to come can enjoy this remarkable gift from our forefathers,” said Batina Dodge, the chairperson for the Scotland County Community Betterment Group. “It’s a symbol of our history.”

The clock, which dates back to 1908 when the A.E Pollhans’ creation first chimed to tell Scotland County residents what time it was. But the antique timekeeper last tolled more than 20 years ago.

Area residents, led by the recently formed Scotland County Community Betterment Group, have undertaken fundraising efforts to help return the clock to service.

“We want to see the clock back in working order and hear the hourly chime once again,” said Dodge.

The efforts are in conjunction with festivities scheduled by the group later this fall to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the courthouse.

Earlier this summer the betterment group contacted expert clock restoration artist Rory DeMesy of Minneapolis, MN, to review the Scotland County timepiece. DeMesy presented an estimate of $43,500 for restoration of the local clock with an additional $2,500 in maintenance work to the housing for a grand total cost of $46,000 for the project.

“This is a unique and beautiful courthouse containing one of the finest original Missouri manufactured A.E. Pollhans tower clocks and Henry Stuckstede bells, created especially for A. E. Pollhans to be installed with this clock,” said DeMesy. “Very few states are able to attribute the manufacturer of both the tower clock and bell to their own state.”

The group is soliciting donations for the project. They are selling commemorative T-shirts and paperweights for the courthouse celebration, with proceeds earmarked for the clock project. Donors will be honored on a special plaque to be placed at the courthouse. Donor levels are diamond for gifts of $1,000 or more; platinum ( $500-$1,000); gold ( $250-$500); silver ( $100-$250); and bronze.

To make a contribution, make the check payable to Scotland County Community Betterment Group and mail them to Scotland County Clerk Office 100, South Market Street, Suite 100, Memphis, MO 63555.

For further information on the project contact Gray or Betty Lodewegen at 660-465-7027 or Kathy Kiddoo at 660-465-7753.

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