Unsyncopated clock: Jefferson County Courthouse’s tower timepiece loses some of its tick
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After a bolt fell off of the north-facing clock on the Jefferson County Courthouse, it was no longer synchronized with the other three sides. -- Photo by Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT TOWNSEND — A bolt lost from one face of the four-sided Jefferson County Courthouse clock tower has caused it to display a different time than the other three.

The bolt fell off the clock mechanism at the courthouse at 1820 Jefferson St. earlier this month and will be repaired in the next few weeks, according to county Central Services Director Frank Gifford.

Gifford said the mechanism on the north-facing clock will need to be removed to make the repair.

That will require opening the back of the clock and removing several glass panels before pulling the clockworks out for repair.

“This isn’t a surprise,” Gifford said.

“With all the wind and the vibrations from the clock, it’s bound to get loose.”

Gifford said the south- and west-facing mechanisms are in good shape, but crews will replace the bolts on the east-facing clock at the same time as a preventive measure.

One of the north-facing clock face’s hands still moves and can drag the other, so the time on the broken face is random and does not display a correct time.

Gifford said the repair will take three or four days and will occur within the next three weeks.

The only access to the clock tower leads directly through a small office occupied by Prosecuting Attorney Scott Rosekrans.

Even though the clock’s hourly chime makes conversation impossible, Rosekrans chose to stay in the office he had when he served as deputy chief deputy criminal prosecutor, rather than move to the larger space once occupied by his predecessor, Juelie Dalzell.

The repair times will be planned to be the least disruptive possible for Rosekrans and his staff, Gifford said.

The courthouse’s 124-foot clock tower was constructed in 1892, along with the courthouse building, and aside from minor repair periods has continuously tolled the hour 24 hours a day since that time.


Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: August 21. 2013 6:17PM
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