Introduction to the Clock Tower
Before we take you on this rare and exciting tour of the Upshur County Courthouse Clock Tower, please join us in extending our profuse thanks to Upshur County Facilities Director, Greg Harris. Without him, none of this pictorial would have been possible. Thank you, Mr. Harris. We are forever grateful.
The Clock Tower Interior
- The Tower Base -
The tower base is just that; the entrance to the other levels within the Clock Tower.
Most have wall accesses for certain structural and mechanical purposes, as well as other areas for maintenance.
- The Belfry -
A belfry encloses the bell chamber; the room in which the bell is housed. Its walls are pierced by openings which allow the sound to escape. You've seen the windows and the screened louvers around the exterior facing.
The louver openings are screened to prevent rain, snow, birds and rodents from entering and damaging the bell or the surrounding structure.
- The Turret -
The turret clock or tower clock is one designed to be mounted high in the wall(s) of a building, usually in a clock tower, and is quite common in public buildings such as our Courthouse.
As a public amenity to enable the community to tell the time, our clock has large faces visible from far away (North, South, East, West Facings) with a striking mechanism which rings the bell every hour.
The turret clock is one of the earliest types of clock. Beginning in 12th century Europe, towns and monasteries built clocks in high towers to strike bells to call the community to prayer.
Public clocks played an important timekeeping role in daily life until the 20th century when accurate watches became cheap enough for ordinary people to afford.
Today the time-disseminating functions of turret clocks are not much needed, and they are mainly built and preserved for traditional, decorative and artistic reasons.
- The Spire -
A spire is a strongly pointed pyramidal or conical finish of a tower in architecture. The spire is an extended, thin shape that was a dramatic aesthetic finale of the structure as well as a symbol of the heavenly aspirations of religious medieval men in its full Gothic growth.
The awesome spire of our Courthouse is inaccessible from the interior, but it's base is visible where it ties into the roof deck centrally beneath the Turret dome.