Dear Editor,

My spouse tells me that I have a pretty good memory but that I sometimes

get the facts confused, but I thought I would give this a shot anyway.

It seems like a few years ago there was a program organized in Vinton that

would get folks to donate money to restore the big old clock in the tower

of the Benton County Courthouse. I remember sending a donation for that

purpose as I grew up in Vinton a long time ago, and I remember, as a kid,

secretly climbing up into the bell tower and enduring the ear-busting noise

as the clock chimed. Also, you could hear the bell clear out to Dudgeon

lake so one knew when to head for home.

Then I kind of remember some stories and photos where an out-of-state

company took the money and got the clock cleaned up and running and

got the hands all lined up, and stuff, and everybody was happy except those

that noticed that the big old bell in the tower did not chime the Hour as It

was supposed to.

The restoration company apparently said they couldn’t fix it, because they

couldn’t get parts or something.

My friends in Vinton who I am still in contact with tell me that the clock

seems to be running OK, but still does not chime like it should. That got me

wondering why the folks that requested donations have not pursued the

Issue and found someone to fix the problem. I remember as a kid that the

town was endowed with handymen and mechanics and skilled Individuals

who could have looked at that old clock, figured out what was wrong and

engineered a solution.

After all, that old clock is just a piece of machinery made up of parts and

Engineering that existed over 100 years ago. Surely someone around there

could figure out how to make the bell go “BONG” again. What a wonderful

thing to happen to help celebrate Vinton’s big birthday celebration that is

coming up soon.

The new paint-job on the Water tower looks nice from the photos I have

seen, but that water tower does not have the historical memories that the

Old clock bell has.

Just a suggestion from a former Vinton resident, but always a Vinton


Robert Kimm

Class of 52

Now of Phoenix, AZ.

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Comments (1)

Mr. Kimm, thank you for reminding us that also gave, and the people that raised money for, the Courthouse clock repair not that many years ago. Ten maybe already?

As of 7:00 AM this morning, June 20th, the clock was stopped on 3:56. And I waited for at least ten minutes and didn't hear the bell. I don't believe the clock, or it's bell has gave an accurate time since it's return after being held hostage in Indiana(?)for far too long. When the bell did ring, you needed to be within a half block of it to hear it, if the wind was in the right direction. It think the main reason for not being able to hear the bell was that the area where the bell is was totally enclosed for weather and birds. If memory serves, there used to be hardware cloth or chicken type wire to keep the birds out. With today's modern construction materials, I would think it could be protected from rain/snow leakage.

Yes, it would be wonderful to have it returned to working order and having the bell be heard again across town before our August celebration.

You were correct that local people used to repair the clock. Jewelers Paul Wirth and Harold Knaack both worked on it, I'm quite certain.

Class of '62
Iowa Tom

By: Thomas Pingenot on June 20th 1:59pm

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