County signs clocktower project agreement

bbashioum@demo-mo.comMay 30, 2014 

Tick, tock. Tick, tock.

It’s almost time for a new clock on the historic Cass County Courthouse in Harrisonville.

Commissioners signed a cost share agreement with the state’s Department of Natural Resources’ Historic Preservation Office on May 22, detailing the scope, purpose and description of the grant the county received earlier this year to repair and restore the clock fixated at the peak of the courthouse.

“I believe that restoring the clock to its historical operating condition is a worthwhile endeavor that all Cass Countians can take pride in,” Presiding Commissioner Jeff Cox said earlier this year.

Clock enthusiast and Cass County Historical Society Board of Directors second vice president Larry Boucher has helped drive the bus in getting the county to look at restoring the clock by helping bring in New York Essence of Time clock restorer Chuck Roeser to examine the 1909 Seth Thomas Model No. 16 clock last spring.

During his visit, Roeser told the county that the clock was in need of total restoration.

The county is slated to receive $73,780 for the project. The county is on the hook for the remaining $32,670 of the tab.

The source of the funding is a 70-30 percent matching Missouri Heritage Properties grant from the Missouri State Historic Preservation Office, a division of the DNR.

The organization awards about $1 million annually statewide. The maximum awarded per project is $100,000.

The project will be completed by Roeser. A crane operator will also have to be hired to remove and install all clock hands, dials, motion works, weights, and component parts.

Parts will be cleaned, repaired or replaced to restore the clock to its original condition.

The project is estimated to be completed within a year. However, the county also must sign a contract with the state before work can begin.

Once the contract is signed, the grant will allow the county to restore the clock to factory condition with weight pendulum operated movement. Funding will also allow the county to restore the clock’s wooden dials.

The clock has been on the courthouse for almost 105 years. In the early 1900s, a group of 18 women spearheaded a movement to put a working clock in the courthouse clock tower. At that time, the courthouse was only a decade old, but there was no working clock in the clock tower.

The women formed the “Harrisonville Town Clock Club” on May 11, 1908 with the purpose of raising funds to purchase a clock.

The club raised enough money to purchase the Seth Thomas clock one year later. Installation of the clock was complete June 10, 1909.

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