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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Hempstead in Waller County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

The Old Courthouse Clock and Bell

 
 
The Old Courthouse Clock and Bell Marker image. Click for full size.
By James Hulse, October 24, 2020
1. The Old Courthouse Clock and Bell Marker
Inscription.  

The clock tower provides a permanent home for the 1894 bell and clock, both of which at one time were important functional adornments to the Waller County Courthouse

Arthur Osborne Watson designed the 1894 Courthouse and M. Clark of Galveston constructed the Courthouse with the help of the Seth Thomas Clock Company of Chicago and Walter Buckley, their tower clock expert, a clock tower, clock and pure bell were designed and installed atop the Courthouse. The 1000 pounts bell was cast in 1894 by the McShane Bell Foundry of Baltimore, MD. For Waller County. On July 24, 1894, the County accepted the clock and bell all at a cost of $900.00

The Seth Thomas Clock had four iron dials with wood backing. The pendulum rod was eight feet long, octagonal, of rosewood, with a massive cylindrical weight. The clock mechanism was powered by 1300 pounds or weights suspended from pulleys. In 1947. The clock was electrified and a motor was installed to drive the clock and bell.

In 1954, the Courthouse was demolishéd, but most of the clock and bell were saved. The clock mechanism was moved to the current courthouse in 1955, where
The Old Courthouse Clock and Bell Marker image. Click for full size.
By James Hulse, October 24, 2020
2. The Old Courthouse Clock and Bell Marker
it was used to drive the bell, which continued to strike the hours from an open frame on the building's roof in 1971, the mechanism controlling the bell broke and was not repaired.

In 1991, the Waller County Historical Society, with the vision of Marjorie Senasac, authorized restoration of the clock mechanism and restoration of the bell. Susan Hopkins and Burt and Mildred Leonard chaired the first fundraiser, "One moment in time" to raise money to begin the restoration. The clock was restored in 1997 by Lloyd Larish, owner and Master Tower Clock Repairman of the House of Clocks of Faribault, MN. Construction of the clock tower began in October, 1998, and was slated to be completed by April of the next year. Construction of the tower halted for several years and during this time the clockworks were on display in the Courthouse Lobby until December, 2010.

The Tower Project was revived in 2008. The clock and bell tower construction began again in June, 2009, and included installation of the clock and new restoration of the bell. The tower was completed in July 2012.

The Clock & Bell Tower Project
Jackie Hopkins Craver, Project Chairman
Committee:
Waller County Historical Society & Commission Members and Officers
Richard Senasac, Chairman

 
Erected 2012 by Waller County Historical Society
The Old Courthouse Clock Mechanism image. Click for full size.
By James Hulse, October 24, 2020
3. The Old Courthouse Clock Mechanism
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Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Notable Buildings.
 
Location. 30° 5.853′ N, 96° 4.649′ W. Marker is in Hempstead, Texas, in Waller County. Marker is at the intersection of Austin Street (U.S. BUs 290) and 9th Street, on the left when traveling east on Austin Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 836 Austin Street, Hempstead TX 77445, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Former Waller County Post Offices (within shouting distance of this marker); Hempstead, C.S.A. (within shouting distance of this marker); Waller County (within shouting distance of this marker); First United Methodist Church of Hempstead (approx. ¼ mile away); Ahrenbeck-Urban Home (approx. 0.4 miles away); Hempstead High School (approx. half a mile away); Captain Alfred H. Wyly (approx. 1.1 miles away); The Camp Site of the Texas Army (approx. 1.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hempstead.
 
Waller County Courthouse image. Click for full size.
By James Hulse, October 24, 2020
4. Waller County Courthouse
The clock, bell and marker are located in the front yard of the courthouse by the street.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 6, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 5, 2020, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. This page has been viewed 43 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on November 6, 2020, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.
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Mar. 5, 2021