Clocktower, bell to receive repairs over next month

Published 7:58 pm Tuesday, February 24, 2015


The underside of the bell has rusted over the years, causing it to lean and threaten to fall. — Powell Cobb


The bell perched on top of the Decatur County Courthouse has suffered abuse from the elements since it was last remodeled 15 years ago along with the rest of the clock tower.

Since that time, its base has rotted to the point of it slightly tipping, with the potential of it falling off the tower altogether.

Email newsletter signup

Luckily, Doug Young, president of PDC Construction, Inc., spotted the situation and has arranged to repair the bell and the top part of the clock tower.

“Three or four months ago, I was walking around the square of the market,” Young said. “I said, ‘Man, something looks wrong with it.’ A couple weeks later, I got my binoculars and I noticed the bottom was rusted out badly. I told Col. Breedlove, and I said we needed to go up there and do something. So I made a proposal.”

The Board of Commissioners approved the proposal a few weeks later at their meeting on Jan. 27.

Monday morning, Young sawed the bell off of the four posts holding it up and a crane carefully dropped it to the ground. Its outer surface was peeling off and a large hole was rusted out of the bottom.

It was immediately driven to C&C Machine Shop, where owner Randy Harrell will repair the damage done to the bell. Young estimated the costs for the bell to range between $1,800 and $3,500.

“He’s going to try to rebuild it and put it together the best he can,” Young said.

In addition, Young also plans to pressure wash the top of the bell tower from “the while all the way up,” he said, followed by a new coat of paint and primer. The job in total will range between $23,485 and $31,900, to be paid for by Decatur County.

Young predicted if he had not taken down the bell Monday, it would have fallen down in the coming weeks and possibly injure someone.

“I enjoy the courthouse because of the history,” Young said. “It’s history and it needs to be saved.”