By Errol Castens / Daily Journal Oxford Bureau
OXFORD – The Lafayette County courthouse’s long-awaited clock mechanism will be on exhibit Thursday in the courthouse lobby before it is installed in the top of the building Friday.
“Nobody is going to authorize an 80-year-old woman to go to the tower, but we can put it on display in the courthouse for the day,” said Minnesota clockmaker Lloyd Larish. “Most people will never get to touch the clock again, so this is the one thing we can give back to the public that they couldn’t have gotten any other way.”
Board of Supervisors President Lloyd Oliphant said a crew will begin setting up the display at 9 a.m. Thursday.
“People probably ought to give us a couple of hours to get it in place,” he said. “More people will have a chance to see it in the afternoon.”
Larish predicted the clock will be operative early next week. He has been in Oxford since Aug. 6, finishing behind closed doors the assembly of parts that he took to his Minnesota shop three years ago.
His work on the clock, although separately contracted, was part of the latest restoration of the 1872 courthouse.
Originally scheduled to finish the clock in September 2007, Larish was granted repeated deadline extensions before county officials threatened to take him to court.
“I’m still working on the time assembly of the clock,” said Larish, who blamed his delays on illness. “That clock was originally designed and built in 1870 with the old-style tooling.”
Among the challenges in the work were an early reversal of the decision to restore the clock to function by weights and winding rather than by electricity, and the realization that the original metric screws were replaced with those of English measure.
“A lot of the screws were lost. Parts were taken off,” Larish said. “I picked up everything I could find and took it back with me.”
Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1060 or firstname.lastname@example.org.