Award for Clock Tower Restoration

East School


This building is one of the nation’s few remaining Civil War-era schoolhouses. It was designed by Chicago architect John Mills Van Osdel, who was 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 the building lay dormant and was subject to demolition before it was purchased in the early 1970s by the Pike County Historical Society. PCHS converted the building into museum space for their collections while the Pittsfield Theater Guild made use of the second floor space for various productions. Although occupied by thoughtful tenants, by 2004 the clock tower’s metal roof and supporting wood structure were in need of major repairs. 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. The project was funded through historical society donations and the work was done by the Hickory Flats Group of Winchester.

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