|1/4/2013 2:00:00 AM|
We can do this!
Let's raise the funds and raise the tower!
|By Sandra Lofland-Brown|
Montgomery County is a historical county. We have many museums all over the county and our courthouse sits in a historic district. Several important men came from or worked in our county.
We talk about revitalizing our downtown and just what could we do better than restoring the tower to the courthouse? Many of our building owners are working diligently to restore the fronts of their buildings to help the image of our downtown.
Restoration of the courthouse tower will greet people driving into our community showing them we care about keeping our historical history alive and beautiful.
People come to our town to see if they would like to start a business here and others come to see if they want to send their sons to Wabash College. Most of these people ask someone here about why our courthouse does NOT have a tower. Some people have told us our courthouse is ugly! Our current courthouse is not ugly; it just needs to have the tower restored to make it look stately once more. The courthouse has been well taken care of and in the last year new heating and cooling systems has been added. This building will be our courthouse for many years to come. (We need to stop these "ugly" comments.)
Our courthouse is the most important building in the county!
It is our Government building where we secure a marriage license, we pay our taxes, have voter registration, our courts of law, and other offices. Community and civic events are held in front of the building. Our soldiers used to leave for war from our courthouse. In the past our courthouse has been the focal point of the community and we can return it to the focal point!
The Montgomery County Courthouse is like a church without a steeple, a queen without a crown, a ring without the diamond, and a sundae without a cherry!
Back in 1941, the courthouse clock tower, a Victorian masterpiece, was torn off and junked after an artist noticed it leaned a bit toward Washington Street. At least, he felt it was leaning!
A determined group of volunteers have worked to raise the funds to restore the stately tower. It would add a focal point to the downtown area and return a disfigured landmark to its soaring 1875 appearance. With the tower gone it is difficult to tell which way the courthouse faces. The masonry tower base, 25 feet square, resembles a pedestal with the statue missing.
The Montgomery County Commissioners, Crawfordsville Main Street and the Montgomery County Historical Society have passed resolutions to endorse the reconstruction of the courthouse tower. Nucor Steel, Bane Equipment Sales, Jayne Burks, Scott Molin, David Blix, Martha Mcllrath, Geneva Long, and Dr. Scott Frey have recently given donations as have many others in the past years.
A study has been conducted and the courthouse is ready to accept a new tower.
The old clocktower was raised into position at the start of July 1876. The frame was of wood and covered with galvanized iron with the tower atop the Washington Street entrance. On July 4, 1876, a flag flew from the tower, celebrating the country's centennial. For 65 years, the tower stood guard over the county seat. Then in 1941 the beautiful tower was torn off of the courthouse just because the painter reported it was leaning and there was not any money to even look into the tower and see if it actually was leaning!
Dr. Marion Kirtley with Sandra & Luther Lofland formed a committee and started raising funds to restore the tower. Thousands of dollars have been raised from the profits from Doctor Kirtley's book, selling of historic miniatures, Christmas Ornaments, and several other projects. Doctor Kirtley and Luther Lofland have passed away but the fund raising continues.
This committee has raised almost 50 percent of the needed funds to restore the clocktower. The courthouse building itself has been compromised in that the 3rd floor decorative windows have been removed and many of the fancy decorations which were on the roof and the tower have been also. The committee has been working with Campbellsville Industries to make plans to restore the tower in order for it to match the current courthouse and to be historically correct as possible.
The total cost of the new tower is $270,245. This is the complete cost of construction and installing of the tower. The committee has raised $125,600 and only lacks $144,645 and that means the committee has almost one-half of the needed funds raised.
Our goal is to raise the money by Feb. 1, 2013 and restore the tower to the courthouse on July 23, 2013, which would have been Dr. Kirtley's birthday.
The tower committee members are appealing to you for help with your donations in order to restore our courthouse to the focal point of this community. We have talked to the commissioners about the possibility of them helping us out but as one man said at our meeting, "The people of Montgomery County will surely donate funds so we will NOT have to use tax monies." We do NOT want to use tax monies but we want to raise the money! Please consider mailing your donation today. (They are tax deductable.)
Donations should be made to: Montgomery County Historical Society, CLOCKTOWER FUND (Be sure to put Clocktower Fund)
Mail to: Sandra Lofland-Brown, 1449 West U.S. Hwy 136, Crawfordsville, IN, 47933.
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