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Lakeview, Ore., Courthouse Tower Features Four Clocks

Lake County completed work in 1909 on a new three-story courthouse designed by architect Charles Henry Burggraf.  The main tower contained a clock and chimes built in 1908 by the McShane Bell and Foundry Co.

Each of the four bell-shaped chimes weighed nearly a ton and each differed in size and tone. The tower clock had four faces, each pointing in a different direction and not always indicating the same time.  The chimes rang whenever the clock’s hands struck the hour.  Even though the chimes often didn’t synchronize with the clock, the children in Lakeview would run outside or stop playing just to hear them ring.

Assembling the tower contents had been backbreaking work, but “in those days a courthouse without a clock was like a buggy without wheels.”  Banty Gunther insisted the tower clocks told the right time after he finished working on them, but some people said they trusted their kitchen clocks more.

In 1954 another courthouse was built and the old chime bells went to a concrete pad in front of the new courthouse.  The remains of the clock can be found in Lakeview’s historic Heryford Building.

Sources:  Barry, Bob. Oregon Historic Landmarks Southern Oregon Lakeview Courthouse Chimes. Drain, OR, Oregon Society DAR, 1974, pp. 61-62; Hall, Jimmy. "Hidden Gems of Yesteryear." Progress 2015 Lake County Behind the Sagebrush Curtain Lake County Examiner, 29 Apr. 2015, pp. 26-28, https://issuu.com/lcexaminer/docs/2015progress. Accessed 13 Jan. 2017; "New Courthouse Completed." Lake County Examiner, 14 Jan. 1909, p. 1, oregonnews.uoregon.edu › Historic Oregon Newspapers. Accessed 12 Jan. 2017.

Luana (Loffer) Corbin graduated from Southern Oregon College, majoring in Elementary Education.  The summer after graduation she was hired to teach at Ruch Elementary, where she taught for 32 years. After retiring, Corbin worked for Lifetouch School Photography and then returned to Ruch as an aide helping with reading instruction and at the library.  More recently, she has volunteered at South Medford High.