Buildings and Grounds
Park County's Clocktower
The Park County Courthouse clocktower was built as part of the original courthouse building, The tower was constructed of wood framing and sheathing which was formed to the basic shape of the tower, the domes, and the major decorative elements such as columns and railings. This wooden shape was then clad in "galvanized iron" sheet metal to protect all surfaces exposed to the weather and to add detailing such as cornices, finials, balusters and panel effects. An upper floor was provided for mounting a clock mechanism with round openings in the four walls to be filled by the faces of a
clock. In August, 1912, a suggestion was made to purchase a town clock for the courthouse. W. R. Coe donated a Model 15 Seth Thomas tower clock at a cost of $782, with installation by representatives from the factory costing another $235. The Cody Club made the arrangements for shipping and agreed to pay the $75 freight bill. More particulars about the order are unavallable because Book "L" of the records of the Seth Thomas Clock Company tower clock records is one of 4 missing volumes of the 23 volumes that were kept.
Seth Thomas Company of Thomaston, Connecticut, was established in 1813. They produced superior handmade clocks until the 1930's. Each clock was made by a quality craftsman at his individual work station. A great deal of pride was put into the making of these clocks. The clock was produced at a time when hand molders were used and most of the parts are of cast iron
moldings. Some of the parts can only be reproduced today by using the original methods of casting.
The Park County tower clock is a No. 15, hour and half hour strike tower clock with four sectional glass and iron dials four feet in diameter with block numerals. The numerals are made of cast iron. The clock hands were originally made of pine since they must be lightweight in order to balance properly and are tapered at the ends. In April of 1985, the entire clock mechanism was dismantled and cleaned by a certified master watch and clock maker, Lloyd Larish of Faribault, Minnesota. At this time, the weathered clock
hands were found to be in need of replacement and this work was done by Charlie Barnett of Cody. The glass behind the dials is 5/16 of an inch
thick, the centerpiece and segments being of the same thickness throughout. This is a French stained glass that was milk-white in color. The lavender color apparent in the clock faces is due to the effects of time, sun and weather.
The clock was originally installed as a weight drive, 8-day clock, operated by a pendulum weighing approximately 75 pounds and wound with a crank. According to an article in the April 16, 1913 edition of the Cody Enterprise, Janitor McEachron climbed the long winding stairway to the cupola every 5 days to wind the clock. The heavy weights were suspended from the roof of
the cupola so that they dropped to the second floor of the courthouse. The clock was converted to electricity in the 1940's.
A bell being 78 parts NeW Lake Superior Copper and 22 parts East India Block Tin, 28 inches in diameter and weighing 450 pounds, is located below the movement. Seven men under the supervision of R. N. Wilson of Chicago carried the bell to its resting place below the clock in April of 1913. The front of the 450 pound bell reads:"M C Shane Bell Foundry Co. Baltimore, MD."
Tile back reads:"Made for the Seth Thomas Clock Co. New York and Chicago,
The clock was maintained locally by Edwin A. Null in the 1940's and 1950' s. On one of the weight chutes in the clocktower room, Mr. Null recorded the maintenance performed on the clock: Clock Cleaned and Adjusted, Aug. '42
Cleaned Clock, Oct. 1943 Cleaned, Repaired & Adj. Clock, Oct. '45
Cleaned &Adjusted, June '46 In August of 1970, the clock was cleaned and
adjusted by someone with the initials R.A.H. Frank Raver, the custodian since 1971, said that Rex Howe was custodian at that time and these are
probably his initials carved on the weight chute. Jack Hensley, maintenance man for Park County, worked beside Lloyd Larish during the renovation
process and learned how to take care of some of the problems that may arise with the clock. Jack also handpainted the numerals and faces of the clock.
The following is quoted from the April 16, 1913 issue of the Cody Enterprise:
"The clock expert (R. N. Wilson) toiled until late last Saturday morning and then boarded the train for Chicago, having completed his task. Before putting all the machinery together he pulled "Stony" Bjornson of the Cody Drug and
Jewelry Company up to the top of the skyscraper and there revealed to him all the secrets of a town clock so that if anything ever goes wrong with the machine, he will know just how to repair it. Considering the fact that there are some 200 separate pieces to a town clock, we would say that this is no small job." Finally, a plaque attached to the clock mechanism reads:"Made By
Seth Thomas Clock Co. Thomaston, Conn, U.S.A. No. 1800 Feb. 3rd 1913."