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Clock Tower Restoration

East School, Pittsfield


This building is one of the nation’s few remaining Civil War-era schoolhouses.  It was designed by Chicago architect John Mills Van Osdel, one of the state’s first professional architects.  Six years after the building’s completion in 1865, a clock tower was constructed to house a 3,000-pound cast-bronze school bell.  Classes were held here until 1955, when the school district shuttered the building.  For 20 years, it lay dormant and threatened with demolition.



The building was purchased in the early 1970s by the Pike County Historical Society, which converted it into museum space, while the Pittsfield Theater Guild used the second floor for its productions.  Despite this tenancy, by 2004 the clock tower’s metal roof and supporting wood structure were in need of major repairs.  With donations to the historical society, the original red cedar framing was consolidated or replaced with matching materials.  A new roof was installed, using the original “terne metal” process. All four clock faces were reconstructed, based on historic photos, and the entire tower was repainted with properly documented historic colors. 








Landmarks Illinois
Suite 1315
53 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604 
tel. 312-922-1742 
fax 312-922-8112



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