Union County Historical Society
Bell and Clock History
for the Union County, Georgia Courthouse
The Clock and Bell for the 1899 Union County Court House was purchased from the E. Howard & Company, the premier clock manufacturer of that period, as shown by the still existing original records of that company.The E. Howard & Company manufactured the clock mechanism. The bell was cast by the Meneely Foundry for the E. Howard Clock & Company. Originally the clock mechanism would be above the bell.
Before electricity came to Blairsville, the Court House clock was powered by fallen weights through the tower as in a Grandfather Clock This necessitated someone winding back up the heavy weights weekly. At some point after electricity came to Blairsville in 1936 (The electricity came from a local dynamo at the “River Mill”on the Nottley River.), the clock/bell mechanism was converted to electricity.
In 2000, the clock tower was replaced. Due to weight considerations, the restored Court House tower houses a replica bell and the chime of the bell is reproduced electronically. The original bell and clock mechanism are housed in a new pavilion on the Court House grounds. The bell and clock were restored previously for display by the Jaycees.
The E. Howard Clock Company, established in 1842, manufactured tower clocks for more than one hundred years, longer than any other tower clock manufacturer in America. E. Howard Company was known for their high quality clocks, affordable by only wealthier cliental. Howard's tower clocks were of the highest quality time keepers ever manufactured in America and were produced in several sizes and styles. Their last tower clock was produced in 1964.
The photos below show the same model of movement
used in the Union County Courthouse. ￼This movement
has been restored to its original condition.
The mechanisms shown would be above the bell in the tower.
A closeup of a clock frame showing the manufacturer’s name
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Our clock according to E. Howard & Company records:
Model#: 0 SS
[This model “#0” is a small size tower clock movement for 4 clock faces."SS" stands for "Special [heavier duty] Stryker" [sic]]
Weight: 1200 lbs. (bell o
Diameter: 38 in. [Cast Iron]
City/State: Blairsville, Georgia
Installation Location: Court House
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As displayed in the Pavilion outside the Courthouse
The clock mechanism on the right would be above the bell in the original tower. The hammer would have originally struck between the bell from between the bell supports.