Time to fix the clock tower

Webster County landmark needs structural repair

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Supervisor Merill Leffler, left, and Doug Vinson get a closer view of the Webster County Courthouse's iconic clock tower from the roof. The 114-year-old structure is made of copper which has turned green. The county is making plans to repair the clock so it will keep time again.

Webster County will use a 3-D scanner as part of a study to repair the courthouse’s iconic clock tower.

The Webster County Board of Supervisors approved the plan with Shuck-Briston Inc. engineers, of Des Moines, for $72,280. This will include a 3-D scan, use of a crane to obtain measurements and details of the copper dome, and images taken with a drone.

“The courthouse, being over 100 years old, has normal wear and tear from mother nature,” Supervisor Nick Carlson said. “We’re going to do a study to see what we can do before it becomes a safety issue.”

The scan will be able to better see what is needed to keep the dome in good shape, Supervisor Merrill Leffler said.

“With this structure we deal with historic buildings stuff,” Leffler said. “Basically, we have to repair the clock tower when there is some damage to it.

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Rory DeMesy, left, and Mark Reschke, from Mechanical Watch Supply hoist a plexiglass center face into the Webster County Courthouse clock tower friday. Rory DeMesy said one of the four faces was still the original glass, which is brittle and will likely need to be replaced with a plexiglass one matching the other three.

“I personally believe we need to anyway, but it’s a historic building.”

A date for the scanning hasn’t been set, Carlson said.

Shuck-Briston was also hired to examine the skylight in the county’s bank building, 723 First Ave. S., which needs repair. The firm will be paid $19,830 for services including construction administration, documents and bidding assistance.

“This is the skylight replacement we have talked about and budgeted for a couple years. It has finally come to the top of our list,” Supervisor Mark Campbell said. “We will have plans and specs this fall, for the project possibly this spring.”

The green, copper-domed clock tower was built in 1902 along with the rest of the courthouse, which is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Rory DeMesy, owner of Mechanical Watch Supply, Minneapolis, begins disconnecting clock hands from the mechanism in the historic clock tower in the Webster County Courthouse. The 22-year-old clock works that run the four-faced, 114-year-old clock will be completely replaced as they no longer keep time.

The clock’s inner workings were most recently replaced in 2016. A new controller was installed, the gears replaced, and workers also installed new hands for the clocks and replaced two of the four clock faces.

Webster County Sheriff’s Deputy Geoff Miller has been promoted to sergeant, along with a pay raise from $63,738 to $64,710.79.

The supervisors officially took note of the promotion Tuesday. It will be effective Sept. 24.