Clock Tower

Out of the Clock Tower



Hello and welcome to the Greene County Archives' blog, "Out of the Clock Tower".  Please join us as we share information on archival issues, news, special events, and highlights from our collection.

Before the archives program began in Greene County in 1996, permanent records were stored in every conceivable space, in basements, garages, and closets. Usually they were in boxes of various shapes and sizes, although seldom adequately labeled, but occasionally they were just in loose piles of books and papers. Most notable were the old records stuffed into the clock tower of the County Courthouse, where they shared their home with pigeon droppings.

Now, there is a clean, environmentally controlled, well appointed location for the county archives, where our historical records are housed in standard sized boxes on steel shelves. We have taken note of their journey in the name for our blog.

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Mar 15

The Stained Glass in the Courthouse

Posted on March 15, 2019 at 7:37 AM by Robin Heise

When it was decided to build a new courthouse in Xenia at the turn of the century (the 20th century), there was a great deal of work put into the design and building of the structure (Fig 1). The Commissioners’ Minutes illustrate just how much time and energy went into the building, all the way down to the wall hangings and room furnishings (Figs 2 & 3). There are copies of contracts scattered throughout the minutes, and it appears not one item was left to question. However, in April 1902, those contract details were tested.

Fig 1. Article from Xenia Daily Gazette about the decision to build a new courthouse, dated March 5, Fig 1. Article from Xenia Daily Gazette about the decision to build a new courthouse, dated March 5,
Fig 1. Article from Xenia Daily Gazette about the decision to build a new courthouse, dated March 5, 1900 (Newspapers.com)

Fig 2. Greene County Commissioners' Minutes, Vol 15, p 238 (JPG)
Fig 2. Excerpt from Greene County Commissioners’ Minutes, Vol 15, pg 238 (Greene County Archives)

Fig 3. Greene County Commissioners' Minutes, Vol 15, pgs 246-247 (JPG)
Fig 3. Excerpt from Greene County Commissioners’ Minutes, Vol 15, pgs 246-247 (Greene County Archives)

The courthouse was to have a beautiful bell tower, and fine art/stained glass window, both of which were items of admiration within the community as construction continued on the building. On Friday, April 25, 1902, Xenia and the surrounding area experienced a windstorm. Xenia has had its fair share of crazy weather, and this storm pelted the region. As the wind continued, it rattled the unfinished courthouse. By Saturday evening, the beautiful stained glass window could no longer withstand the winds, and shattered into thousands of pieces, leaving only the outer portion of the window intact (Fig 4).

Fig 4. Article from the Xenia Daily Gazette and Torchlight about the destruction of the fine art win
Fig 4. Article from the Xenia Daily Gazette and Torchlight about the destruction of the fine art window, dated April 28, 1902 (Newspapers.com)

The window, which cost roughly $450 in 1902 (equivalent to just over $13,000 today) would have to be replaced. Seeing as this seemed to be a noted event within the newspapers, we went to the Commissioners’ Minutes to see what they had to say about it. Well, it turns out, nothing. It appears this little bump was not considered noteworthy, and it might have been because of their contract.
As stated earlier, the County was sure to design a fairly tight contract, detailing the finer points. While glancing through, the section below was spied (Fig 5). It states: “The Contractor shall be fully responsible for safety and good conditions of work and material in his contract until the completion of his contract… The Contractor shall also be fully responsible for any damage that may accrue to the property or other contractors or any portion of the structure, that in any wise results from the neglect or acts of his employees.”

Fig 5. Excerpt from the Greene County Commissioners' Minutes, Vol 15, p 229 (JPG)
Fig 5. Excerpt from the Greene County Commissioners’ Minutes, Vol 15, pg 229 (Greene County Archives)

The stained glass window was replaced without further incident, and still exudes its beauty today (Fig 6). The window is on the second floor of the Courthouse, on the north side of the building, which faces E. Market Street.

Fig 6. View of stained glass window from inside the Courthouse (JPG)
Fig 6. View of stained glass window from inside the Courthouse (Greene County Archives)

Until Next Time…

Sources:
Greene County Archives
Newspapers.com

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