Tolling of the bell to sound again
During the Washington County Board of Supervisors meeting on July 30, the members heard a statement they rarely hear from someone in the meeting room.
"I'm not here to ask for money," Cathy Lloyd said.
What she was there for was to get permission to repair the courthouse clock chime. She said it would be paid for by grants and private donations.
"The sound of the town clock had great significance to those who grew up here," Lloyd said. "It was part of our lives. I miss it, and I know many others do too. I just had to try to see if something could be done."
Lloyd began doing research in 2012 to see what could be done to make the bell ring again. She learned much of the history of the clock and bell. She found out what was fact and what was fiction. Some thought the ringing of the 1,000-pound bell might damage the courthouse, which was constructed with soft bricks.
After talking to three bell companies, Lloyd had an expert from St. Louis come to Washington to assess the bell. She found out that the bell is not the swinging kind of bell that has be be rung manually. It is a stationery bell with a striker. The striker was worn out.
"I feel like I have a personal connection to the clock because my great-grandfather was the baliff at the courthouse when the bell was transferred, and one of his duties was to take care of the clock and bell," Lloyd said.
On Aug. 6, Cathy's husband, Jim Lloyd, was present at the board of supervisors' meeting. He said the electrical box had to be fixed.
The supervisors approved the repair of the bell.
Jim Lloyd also said the Washington, Iowa Betterment Foundation was assisting with funds. Persons interested in donating funds may mail them to 1 Orchard Circle, Washington, IA 52353.