Hillsdale Michigan (March 2, 2015) -- It has come to the attention of the Hillsdale County Courthouse staff that the four faces of the courthouse tower clock are not all keeping the same time. As it turns out, this is a mechanical problem for which there is no easy fix.
The clock faces, clockworks, and bells were installed by the Seth Thomas Clock Company of Thomaston, Connecticut. The entire system was a gift to the citizens of Hillsdale County by William W. Mitchell of Cadillac, Michigan; and was dedicated on June 22, 1910. The clock and the chimes (bells) had to have the weights that ran them wound every few days. Then in the late 1940s or early 1950s (we are not sure of the specific date), the clock weights were removed and a pair of electric motors replaced the weights to drive the clock system. Very little has been done to maintain the courthouse tower clock since that transfer to electricity.
After several transfers of ownership, the Seth Thomas Clock Company went out of business about 2009 as part of its parent company's bankruptcy. Therefore, many of the original records for Seth Thomas tower clocks have been lost. There are a few records that have been found, and of those many are posted on the internet. While the Hillsdale County Courthouse Clock serial number shows up in a few of those records, none of the diagrams depicting the original design of our tower clock exist. This makes it more difficult to understand how the clock originally worked or how it should be maintained.
In 2013, a company which specializes in tower clock repairs estimated it will take about $25,000 to bring the clockworks back to what they should be. Unfortunately, the County of Hillsdale government budget does not have the funding currently available for such repairs. In the meantime, the four sides of the Hillsdale County Courthouse clock will not be in synchronization with each other.
We apologize for any inconvenience to the public.