Sunday, December 9, 2012

Greene County, Pa Courthouse Clock Tower

If you've ever been to Waynesburg, Pa, surely you are familiar with the Greene County Courthouse up on High Street.  The courthouse that we all know was built in 1850 for $10,000 dollars and replaced a smaller brick courthouse.   One of the defining characteristics of the building is a high clock tower, with a statue of General Nathanael Greene perched on top.   The original statue was destroyed in a fire in 1925, and replaced in 1927 with another. In 1997 the statue was removed yet again and replaced with a brand new statue.  There is an interesting article and a series of old pictures here about the statue, published in the 1960's. 

Photo care of Rose Lucas
I found this picture in the series of photographs here, also courtesy of Rose Lucas.

But the clock tower has always interested me. The Downey House hotel fire of 1925 sparked blowing embers to the old court house and damaged it's cupola.

Downey House Hotel.  Site of Ft. Jackson Hotel currently  Source unknown
Downey Hotel, Courtesy Ten Mile Creek Counrty

  The original court house did not include a clock, and it was not until after the fire in 1925 that destroyed the Downey House (where the Fort Jackson Building now sits), that a clock tower was installed. I contacted Greene County Judge, and fellow explorer, Farley Toothman to arrange a tour, and he was more then happy to oblige.  

Courthouse before clock installation.
And Today.

We met up with Farley on a Sunday afternoon, and after an hour or so tour of the court house building, we climbed the wooden stairs up into the tower.   The following pictures are from our tour.

Looking up, where the pendulum once hung down.  Since removed and located at the Greene County Historical Museum

The "New" mechanical clock movement, installed in the late 1950's

Dad and Donna joined me today for the tour.  Here, the old man poses in front of the leaded glass clock face.
Again, many thanks to Farley, for letting Dad, Donna and myself up into the clock!


  1. Wow, what awesome photos! Thanks so much for sharing these pics and that backstory about the Greene statue (I didn't know it was replaced a couple times).

    Y'know, anytime I hear mention of Waynesburg, the first thing I always think of is the Courthouse. I was born & raised there, and looking forward to moving back home someday. Great piece, thanks again :)

  2. Thank you so much for all the work you've done! My family was some of the orginal Nemacolin residents. Some mining bosses too. My pap was a member of the civil police as well. Thanks again ! Very interesting information.


  3. Did you know that the present day courthouse is number three, had two before it. The original Greene County Courthouse sets onthe original lot on Greene Street right next the the Waynesburg Fire Co. This courthouse was built 1796/97 after Greene County was divided from Washington County. There are still log courthouses around, but few, if any are still on their original lots. Stop in some and time we will give you a tour. Bonnie, Cornerstone Genealogical Society member.