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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Aug 21

New Discoveries: Recent Additions added to the Archives' Collection

Posted on August 21, 2015 at 3:39 PM by Elise Kelly

Recent Discoveries
This summer the Greene County Archives has added numerous resources to its collection. Previously located at and stored in other County offices, these resources are captivating and valuable. They wonderfully capture the ample and unique history of Greene County.

 Stored in a vault at the County Treasurer's Office (previously a bank) were several antique blueprints of the courthouse and  powerhouse.

To the left, the white building is the former jail. Can you see the powerhouse?
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  Photograph circa 1960s.
 

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1901 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
 The powerhouse, located behind the current jail, generated power to the courthouse. We believe part of the powerhouse's structure is still there. However, it has been encapsulated under a larger structure.

Let's compare the photograph of the powerhouse with one of the blueprints. The single round window and the arched doorway can be seen in both sources.
                                    
                                Powerhouse Blueprint - 1900

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The above image exhibits a large tear through the blueprint of the courthouse's exterior.
Conditions
 The powerhouse blueprints were in good condition, but restoration efforts needed to be applied to a couple of the courthouse prints. The old tape used to repair the tears in the documents caused some damage to the blueprints such as yellowing and aging.
The tape was carefully removed and replaced with archival mending tape.

County Offices Located Inside the Courthouse

When we first unrolled the blueprints to examine them, we discovered that many of the county offices during the early 1900s, were located right inside the courthouse. Located on the first floor of the courthouse was the office of the Commissioners, the Auditor, the Treasurer and the County Surveyor. (See Below).

                        First Floor of Courthouse Blueprint - 1900

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                        First Floor of Courthouse Blueprint - 1900
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On the Second Floor of the courthouse the Sheriff's office was located right beside the Grand Jury room and close to the Witness Room.

             Second Floor of Courthouse Blueprint - 1900
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The basement of the courthouse contained a lunchroom and the offices for the Board of Elections, the School Examiners, and the Department of Agriculture. In addition, there was a Relic Room.
Could this be the Archives? Having the archives located in a basement probably was not the best idea - (e.g. wet conditions.)

                    Basement of the Courthouse Blueprint - 1900
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The blueprints of the cross section of the building portray the ornate architectural design of the courthouse. Notice the high windows above the door frames, the baroque style spire on the far left side of the print, and a small winged-lion that is circled. The Greene County Courthouse is a magnificent and historic structure and these blueprints are amazing resources to use for local history and architectural research.

          Cross Section of the Courthouse Blueprint - 1900
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Look at the photograph below, the winged lions sit right below the arched entrance of the courthouse.

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         Photograph of the Greene County Courthouse -  Circa 1960s

Until Next Time!

This Week's Trivia Question:
Can you name the architect who designed the Greene County Courthouse? (Hint: Check out our previous blog post "Greene County Courthouse - Where it all Began."

Last Week's Trivia Answer:
One duty the older children of the schoolhouse had to perform was to carry the wood for the building's stove. What other responsibilities do you think the school children had to do during the school day? - Clean the erasers and bring in fresh water.

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