The Pigeons and the clock at the County Courthouse

Published 7:52 pm Tuesday, June 7, 2022

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On August 3, 1904, the Messenger reported a serious issue with the clock located on the Court House tower.

“The fellows who sit around and look at their watch and keep tab on it with the county clock have been liable to swear at one or the other time piece lately.  The county clock has always kept such perfect time that most people would swear by it.  But it has been off for a few days, first behind and then ahead.  The cause is a little peculiar, yet very reasonable when seen.  The great numbers of pigeons that fly about court square have recently took a liking to the clock, and especially do they like to sit on the long hand and ride around.  Several large pigeons sitting on a hand have more than once weighted down the hand to the extent, thereby causing the clock to lose or gain, owing to what side of the dial the minute hand was traveling.  The clock lost ten minutes Sunday and lost four minutes this morning.

Keeper Zimmermann, whose great hobby is the clock, has placed the matter before the County Commissioners for their consideration.  The great clock faces are too large to enclose in glass, thus it is likely that fine wire netting will be put over the four faces to keep the unwelcome pigeons out.”

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One week later, Keeper Zimmermann brought this issue before the County Commissioners.  “The County Commissioners Court is in session this week.  On yesterday Clock Keeper Zimmermann reported to the court that glass over the clock faces or screen netting would be damaging in his opinion to the clock.  Commissioner Williams thereupon moved that the pigeons be declared a public nuisance and measures be taken to dispose of them.  The court concurred in Commissioner Williams opinion and the pigeons were declared a nuisance.  Notice is given in this paper of the action of the court, and the pigeon owners had best bestir themselves to pen up the birds, lest they lose them.”

All of these articles can be found in previous editions of The Troy Messenger.  Stay tuned for more.  Dianne Smith is the President of the Pike County Historical, Genealogical and Preservation Society.