The courthouse clock is returning to London.
In a 2-1 vote on Tuesday, the Madison County Commissioners approved the process of repairing the time piece and returning it to its perch above the streets of the county seat. The decision comes after several discussions and more than four decades of trying to decide what to do with the aging artifact.
There were several options for repairs ranging from a $32,000 partial repair to a $120,000 complete restoration. The commissioners opted for the $90,000 option which would restore the original clock to its working order rather than the most expensive which would have pieces re-fabricated to match the original designs.
“I feel it’s a part of history,” said Commissioner David Hunter. “We’re restoring the courthouse and we need to restore some of it back to the way it was. It’s a sense of pride in the middle of Madison County.”
Commissioner Mark Forrest voted against the measure, saying that the money needed to repair the clock could be better spent elsewhere.
“We don’t know what it’s going to cost to finish this courthouse,” Forrest said of the building that is currently undergoing a complete roof repair. “We have outside stuff to do, inside stuff to do. We have tens of thousands of dollars worth of sidewalks to do. We have escalating costs on everything and spending the $60,000 or $90,000 I don’t think is right.”
Although the commissioners chose the $90,000 option, they said county treasurer, Donna Landis, agreed to kick in $30,000 to ensure the clock’s return.
“My hope is this contribution is meant to encourage us to move forward,” said Commissioner David Dhume.
Phil Wright, a clock specialist in South Charleston tasked with repairing it, currently has the clock and has had it since the tornado in 1974.